September 22, 2015
By Marty Carlino
Despite fielding one of the youngest rosters in the program’s history, the Dominican University Men’s Soccer team has gotten off to an impressive start. After graduating eight senior players from their roster, the Stars open their season with 14 freshman, eight sophomores, five juniors and just one senior.
The team has their work cut out with what seems to be a schedule filled with tough opponents. However, head coach, Erick Baumann is not going to use the team’s inexperience as an excuse.
“We will not use the lack of experience as an excuse but as a way to shape how we do things this year,” said Baumann. “It will create new opportunities for our staff, returning players and newcomers as well as teach us to become a true team with great chemistry.”
The Stars kicked off their 2015 season with a tightly contested match against the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago Maroons, ranked 18th in the NSCAA Division III men’s preseason poll, scored early in the match and defeated the Stars 1-0.
In their home opener the Stars rebounded from their first match, defeating the Olivet College Comets 3-0. Junior Frankie Saiz opened the scoring for the Stars in the first half and they never looked back. Saiz added an assist in the second half as well, setting up sophomore Adam Yaghmour for his first goal of the season. Freshman Iven Hernandez scored the third goal in the 69th minute.
The Stars continued defending their home turf in their next match against the Elmhurst College Blue Jays winning 2-1. In the first half of the game, the Blue Jays generated majority of the scoring chances ultimately leading to them to score the first goal of the match with nine minutes remaining. The Stars responded with Freshman Iven Hernandez pushing the pace and striking a shot from 25 yards out into the bottom corner of the net past a diving keeper. Hernandez struck his second goal of the game in the 87th minute putting the Stars in the lead.
The team then traveled to St. Louis to challenge the Washington University-St. Louis Bears where they played a tough, back-and-fourth, match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Keeper Gabriel Gongora made a number of key saves that helped keep the match in a deadlock despite the Stars being outshot 25-4.
Following the draw, the Stars quickly reverted to winning defeating North Central College 2-1. Freshman Iven Hernandez came up big adding two more goals to his season total. He has recorded five goals in his in his first five career collegiate matches. The Stars outshot the Cardinals 8-6 in the match with sophomore David Ortega and junior Alex Rohder each adding a shot of their own.
“I think we’ve been inconsistent up to this point, which is expected with such a young group,” said Baumann. “We know what we are capable of and working on developing good training habits should help us create more consistency with what we do.”
The Stars will have to stay sharp as they commence the NACC conference play on September 23rd against Wisconsin Lutheran College.