Soccer Season Starts Friday at Northern Kentucky

PAINESVILLE, OHIO - The Lake Erie men's soccer team opens its season this weekend at the John Toebben Classic hosted by Northern Kentucky University at the Town & Country Sports Complex in Wilder, Ky.

The Storm will open play Friday afternoon (Aug. 28) at 5 p.m. against Ohio Dominican.  On Sunday (Aug. 30), the Storm will play host and 4th-ranked Northern Kentucky, a national semifinalist last year, at 4 p.m.
 
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"We have some very good, tough teams on our schedule this year and playing a top team right off the bat will be a good challenge for us," said head coach Jim Buchan.  "Plus, we will play Ohio Dominican on a regular basis in the GLIAC starting next year."

Lake Erie returns 13 players from last year's squad.  The Storm posted a 4-15 record in 2008, but dropped four matches by a single goal.

"We have a great opportunity to be competitive if we work hard and cut down on errors," Buchan said.  "Mental lapses and mistakes hurt us in the past and if they can cut those down to a minimum, I believe the results can go our way."

Five senior leaders return, headlined by co-captain and defender Jay Sutter (Batavia, Ohio/Amelia).  The other senior returners are midfielders Everton Blake (Clardenon, Jamaica/Clardenon/Lakeland C.C.), Drew Indiano (Euclid, Ohio/Euclid) and Jacob Magdich (Oregon, Ohio/Clay).

In addition, Justin Rraya (Parma, Ohio/Normandy), Jacob Drake (Streetsboro, Ohio/Crestwood) and Davey Traffis (Parma, Ohio/Parma) return to the fold after not playing last season.  Rraya was the second-leading scorer (7 goals, 3 assists, 17 points) and started 18 games for the Storm in 2007.

"We are expecting our group of seniors to step up and provide leadership and motivation to the other players," Buchan said.

Junior forward Justin Mihaley (Lowellville, Ohio/Ursuline) is the top returning scorer from 2008.  He totaled nine points (3 goals, 3 assists) and had a team-high 20 shots on goal.  Defender and co-captain Nate Baer (Northwood, Ohio/Lake/Owens C.C.) will look to stabilize the Storm on the defensive end with classmate Brandon Morton (Waite Hill, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin/Lakeland C.C.).  

In goal, redshirt freshman Ricky Carreira (Toronto, Ontario/Dante Alighieri Academy) is expected to step into the starting role.  

After playing in Kentucky, the Storm returns home to open a seven-match homestand on Tuesday, Sept. 1 against Wheeling Jesuit.

- LEC -