HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College men's soccer team, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Chris Williams, is set to begin its 2017 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 31 at the friendly confines of the Coker Athletic Field against the visiting Trojans of Mount Olive. Heading into the 2017 season, the Cobras were selected ninth in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) preseason poll and have two preseason All-Conference selections in forwards Aladdin Elfares and Jacob Simonis.
A Look Back at 2016
The Coker College men's soccer team finished the 2016 season with seven wins, five of which came in South Atlantic Conference play. In non-conference play, the Navy and Gold earned wins over Chowan and Barton, while scoring SAC wins over Anderson, Brevard, Mars Hill, Queens and Carson-Newman. The Cobras qualified for the SAC Tournament, advancing all the way to the semifinals.
In the South Atlantic Conference Tournament quarterfinals, Coker squared off against Lenoir-Rhyne. 90 minutes and two overtime periods would not be enough, so the two sides squared off in penalty kicks. After six-straight makes for both teams, the two sides exchanged misses. Lenoir-Rhyne missed another, leaving Jaedon Williamson with a chance to win. He converted on the game-winner,propelling the Cobras onto the SAC semifinals.
"Obviously our goal this year is to make it to the conference finals," said senior midfielder Chris Bordelon. "We had a taste of success last year by advancing to the semifinals, but this year we're striving for the conference finals and an NCAA Tournament berth."
What to Watch for
The Cobras return 18 players from last year's roster and 19 newcomers, which include 16 freshman and three transfers.
"We're looking for our returners and transfers to become leaders," said Head Men's Soccer Coach Chris Williams. "Not only on the field, but off the field too."
In addition to 19 new players, the Cobras added two new assistant coaches in Liam Davies and Mike Ritterbeck.
"We have an unbelievable staff," stated Williams. "Liam has been working extremely hard and has been superb. Mike Ritterbeck, who was a former student-athlete in our program is doing excellent as well."
Preseason All-Conference selections Aladdin Elfares and Jacob Simonis, along with senior midfielder Chris Bordelon will lead the offensive charge for the Navy and Gold this season. Last season, Elfares led Cobra scorers with 21 points, netting 10 goals and dishing out one assist. Bordelon, a 2016 SAC All-Tournament team selection, along with Steffen Husum, who started in 15 games and distributed an assist, will be leading the midfield unit.
As mentioned, the Coker men's soccer team will open up their season at home on the Coker Athletic Field against Mount Olive at 4:30 p.m.
Following their home opener, the Cobras will travel to Embry- Riddle on Sept. 4., before returning home for a match against Shaw on Sept. 9. Next, the Navy and Gold begin their conference schedule when they host Newberry on Sept. 13. Other SAC matches that will be held at the Coker Athletic Field include Catawba (Sept. 23), Lincoln Memorial (Oct. 14), and Carson-Newman (Oct. 28). Coker's SAC schedule will be highlighted by a visit from the defending national champions, Wingate University on Oct. 4.
"Every game in the SAC is important to us," stated Williams. "We understand how difficult the SAC is in men's soccer. The message we give our guys is that there aren't any easy games. If you don't' show up and apply yourself accordingly, you won't win soccer matches. It's that simple."
You can follow the Coker men's soccer 2017 season at www.cokercobras.com.
2017 SAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
|School (1st Place Votes)||Total Votes|
|1. Wingate (10)||100|
|2. Tusculum (1)||86|
|4. Lincoln Memorial||76|
|7. Mars Hill||38|
2017 Preseason First Team All-Conference
|F - Ismael Noumansana, Lenoir-Rhyne|
|F - Elma N'For, Wingate|
|F - Jon Ander, Wingate|
|F - Victor Peres, Lincoln Memorial|
|MF - Jens Roessler, Lenoir-Rhyne|
|MF - Marc Fernandez, Lenoir-Rhyne|
|MF - Danilo da Silva, Lincoln Memorial|
|MF - Tom Read, Carson-Newman|
|D - Georgios Charkoutsakis, Tusculum|
|D - Oscar Mitchell, Mars Hill|
|D - Vicente Munoz, Wingate|
|D - Damian Gaona, Wingate|
|GK - Pablo Jara, Wingate|
2017 Preseason Second Team All-Conference
|F - Stian Sanner, Mars Hill|
|F - Jacob Simonis, Coker|
|F - Aladdin Elfares, Coker|
|F - Andreas Kvam, Tusculum|
|MF - Henrique Rezek, Lincoln Memorial|
|MF - David Fairgrieve, Wingate|
|MF - Mateo Correa, Wingate|
|MF - Ivan Andabak, Tusculum|
|D - Ronaldo de Jesus, Lincoln Memorial|
|D - Pau Peiro, Tusculum|
|D - Josh Calabria, Anderson|
|D - Claus Lehland, Newberry|
|GK - Joe Boyd, Carson-Newman|
2017 Coker Men's Soccer Season Preview Video