Men’s soccer looks to build on last year’s success with fresh talent
Following the loss of eight starters from the 2009 season, there were some questions as to how Carnegie Mellon’s soccer program was planning on bouncing back. Now adding to the pressure is the task of following up on the most successful soccer season in university history. Head coach Arron Lujan is quite aware of the situation, and he and his staff have made sure that they are prepared for the upcoming season.
Having lost 11 seniors overall, Lujan addressed the huge roster gap by bringing a whopping 12 first-years onto the team. The new class may be young, but the players are definitely ready to take on the challenge of making this season just as successful as the last. These new players have been recruited from all across the country to join one of the best NCAA Division III men’s soccer programs in the nation.
“We undoubtedly have a very good freshman class who are ready to fill in last year’s seniors’ shoes,” sophomore midfielder Ben Bryant said.
With that in mind, the returnees are just as eager to impress Lujan and will be vying for starting positions. “Players from last year that didn’t really have the chance to shine definitely have something to prove this year,” Bryant explained. “But obviously it will be tough as really everyone on this year’s roster has what it takes to be a starter.”
Making it to the team was an accomplishment in and of itself, as Lujan had to drop a total of 11 players from the preseason roster, one of whom was a returnee who had been on the team for two years.
As opening kick off looms around the corner, the starting lineup is also beginning to shape up. The team will once again be playing a 4–3–3 formation, but the biggest question at this point is who will appear in the forward and center back positions. The team is ranked 11th in the nation according to the NSCAA/Adidas Division III preseason rankings, and Carnegie Mellon is picked to finish second in the University Athletic Association conference, despite losing the core of the team.
The Tartans’ first match of the season is this Wednesday against Washington and Jefferson College at 7:30 p.m. on the new soccer field.