Aug. 25, 2005
The 2005 Indiana men's soccer team will look to do something no other squad in school history has been able to do, three-peat. Second-year head coach Mike Freitag welcomes back eight starters and 15 letterwinners from the 2004 title team. In fact, six of those players (senior Brian Plotkin and juniors Josh Tudela, John Michael Hayden, Jed Zayner, Julian Dieterle and Jacob Peterson) also were starters on the 2003 national title team. The Hoosiers also get a boost from their 2005 recruiting class, which was considered No. 1 by StudentSportsSoccer.com, a Rivals.com site, and College Soccer News.
Offsetting the losses on defense from a season ago, the Hoosiers return a good portion of their offense from a season ago. IU returns 77.3 percent (34 of 44) of its goals and 106 of 133 points (79.7 percent) from 2004. Included in those totals are the Hoosiers' top five scorers, all returning, from a season ago.
The Hoosiers will have to replace their All-America goalkeeper Jay Nolly from a season ago. The task may be a little more difficult than it appears considering none of the four goalkeepers on the Hoosier roster have seen action during their careers.
The Hoosiers return two players that were parts of the 2003 and 2004 national title teams. Sophomore Chris Munroe and junior Nathan Scherpenisse were Nolly's back ups during the title runs. The pair also split time during the 2005 spring season and put up a 5-1 mark with three shutouts and a goals against average of 0.67.
During the 2005 spring, Munroe had a goals against average of 0.57 with two shutouts. He turned in his best performance of the spring with a 10-save showing in IU's 2-1 loss to the Mexican Youth National Team.
Indiana also adds one of the top prep goalkeepers nationally in freshman Chay Cain. He was the top-ranked goalkeeper and 15th-best player overall according to StudentSportsSoccer.com. Cain was a PARADE Magazine All-American and an U.S. Under-18 National Team player.
Despite losing All-American Drew Moor on the backline, the Hoosiers return a lot of experience. Juniors Jed Zayner and Julian Dieterle have both started since day one of their Hoosier careers, a total of 93 matches over the last two seasons. The pair has been an integral part of a Hoosier defense that has a goals against average of 0.63 with 22 shutouts in winning back-to-back national titles.
Zayner was a second team All-Big Ten selection a season ago. The Orland Park, Ill., native started 23 matches for IU in 2004. Dieterle often goes unrecognized because he consistently does the job defensively. He missed part of the 2004 season with a knee injury but did start 20 matches.
Sophomore back Greg Stevning seems poised to earn the third starting spot in the back. The Indianapolis native played significant minutes off the bench for IU, including action in four of the five NCAA Tournament matches.
The Hoosiers also can look for sophomore Charley Traylor and freshman Chris Schuler for help on the backline. Traylor started 10 matches in midfield for the Hoosiers in 2004 and registered the game-winning assist in the national semifinal against Maryland. Schuler, rated the top defender by StudentSportsSoccer.com, was a PARADE Magazine All-American.
With the exception of 2004 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy winner Danny O'Rourke, the Hoosiers return their entire midfield from a season ago. Senior Brian Plotkin and junior Josh Tudela anchor the central midfield, while senior Jordan Chirico and junior John Michael Hayden return as wide starters.
Plotkin is a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection. Last season, he ranked second on the team in points with 19 (5g, 9a). Tudela started all 24 matches for IU last season with seven points (1g, 5a), including the game-winner in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament against Boston College.
Hayden had perhaps the best season of any Hoosier in 2004, enjoying a breakout campaign. The Louisville, Ky., native was a second team All-Big Ten choice and finished third on the team with 18 point (7g, 4a)
Chirico has been a solid player for the Hoosiers throughout his career with 58 matches played and 19 starts. He has scored five points (2g, 1a) each of the last two years.
The Hoosiers must replace a four-year starter at the defensive midfield position in O'Rourke. Indiana will look to a quartet of players with the chance to replace the void. Those players include Traylor, redshirt freshman John Mellencamp and freshmen Brad Ring and Brian Ackley.
Ring joins the Hoosiers as one of the most heralded freshmen recruits in the country. The Rockford, Ill., native was the StudentSportsSoccer.com Fall National Player of the Year.
The Hoosiers have a talented group of forwards. The group is led by a pair of returning starters in junior Jacob Peterson and senior Mike Ambersley. Peterson was a first team All-Big Ten selection and a third team All-Great Lakes Region choice in 2004. During the summer of 2005, he played for the United States Under-20 National Team at the FIFA World Youth Championship. Ambersley was the team's fourth-leading scorer in 2004 with 12 points (3g, 6a).
Along with its starters, Indiana returns one of its top subs from a year ago in junior Kevin Robson. He played in 23 games and ranked second on the team with seven assists.
The Hoosiers also have a trio of freshmen in the mix up front. Redshirt freshman Kevin Noschang led the Hoosiers in scoring with five goals during the 2005 spring season. Freshmen Lee Nguyen and Darren Yeagle were named PARADE Magazine All-Americans at the forward spot, but also have the ability to play in the midfield.
Nguyen was the only high school player to make the United States Under-20 National Team for the World Youth Championships. The Richardson, Texas, native also was named the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year during his senior campaign. Yeagle was the Gatorade Kentucky Boys Soccer State Player of the Year in 2004.