2012 Men's Soccer
2012 Men's Soccer Preview
Bluffton Men's Soccer sports improved depth in 2012
August 9, 2012
As the Bluffton University men's soccer team enters year two of its rebuild under Head Coach Rick Nussbaum, they Beavers sport a roster that includes as many newcomers (20) as his entire first team was comprised of in 2010. Going from 20 players, including eight of which were graduating seniors, to over 30 on the current roster, is a testament to the work ethic that Bluffton's coaching staff has put forth in an attempt to build a team with the talent and depth needed to compete in the Heartland Conference.
Coach Nussbaum stated, "The versatility of our returners is a strength of this team. Being willing to defer for the good of the program has allowed us to form a cohesiveness that will serve the team well when 20 new faces join our squad." Being able to move people around on the field is a key benefit to the versatility of the returning members on the 2012 team. Another strength is the intelligence of the players on the men's soccer team, both on the field and in the classroom.
Although Bluffton will again be young, the skill level is improving and the depth has made huge strides since Coach Nussbaum took over just two years ago. Being able to set up full-scale scrimmage-type situations and junior varsity games speaks to the depth and it also serves to better prepare the team as it continues to go forward. Keeping all of the players involved is imperative for the success of the program and being able to earn time through scrimmaging and junior varsity matches is a way to ensure that happens.
Seniors Matt May (Van Buren) and K.C. Howard (Findlay) along with juniors Dylan Mathews (Arlington), John Harbeck (Mansfield/Christian) and Jaden August (Bluffton) form a solid core of upperclassmen who will provide leadership and stability for a team that includes 20 first-year members. However, the Beavers need to fill the holes left by four-year letterwinners Dan Saville and Seth Hertenstein. Saville was solid between the pipes, while Hertenstein displayed a versatility that allowed Coach Nussbaum to use him in a variety of roles on the field.
Newcomers Jeff Yoder (Elkhart, Ind./Bethany Christian), Ben Knotts (Carrollton), Adrian Ramirez (Archbold), Ryan Johnson-Evers (Muskego, Wis.), and several others are among those that will have the opportunity to earn playing time early on.
The 2012 men's soccer team will need to get acclimated to the road right away, playing its first four matches away from Bluffton. The Beavers open their season at Andrews University on Friday, August 31, before trips to Cincinnati Christian, Shawnee State and St. Francis of Fort Wayne, Ind. On Sept. 15, Bluffton welcomes Wittenberg for its home opener. A trip to Rose-Hulman on Sept. 29 kicks off the Heartland Conference portion of the schedule, the first of nine conference contests. Always-tough Transylvania travels to Bluffton for the regular-season finale on October 27, the second half of a women's and men's doubleheader with the Pioneers.