Is the future of Penn men’s soccer right before our eyes?
As the Quakers prepare for Senior Night this Saturday against Harvard, it is natural to wonder who will be filling in for graduating seniors Duke Lacroix , Kamar Saint-Louis , Louis Schott , Jason deFaria and Mariano Gonzalez-Guerineau .
It is tough to classify this season as a success for the Red and Blue, as the defending Ivy League champs were eliminated from 2014 title contention this past Saturday after a 3-2 loss at Princeton. Four of Penn’s losses this season have been by one goal, and the Quakers’ two ties to Yale and Brown, respectively, were in games in which Penn was expected to win.
This season, seven freshmen joined the team, and many contributed in their rookie years.
“[For them,] it’s a new program, a new team,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “The fact that so many of them were able to come in and immediately play minutes was an impressive start.”
Among the greater contributors were back Luka Martinovic , midfielder Austin Kuhn and back Sam Wancowicz . Martinovic has logged two assists, Kuhn has scored two important goals and Wancowicz has added a goal and ranks fifth on the team with 10 shots. All three have played in 14 or more of the Quakers’ 16 games this season.
“Guys like Austin, Sam and Luka were all steady contributors throughout the year,” Fuller said.
Kuhn and Wancowicz have both been recognized for their efforts during the season. Both players have earned Philadelphia Soccer Six honors and Kuhn also received an Ivy League Rookie of the Week nod back in September.
Also making his presence felt was midfielder Chris Scian . He made his way into the starting lineup early in the season but lost the role. However, Fuller praised him for coming back stronger in the last few games.
“In the last two games he’s found his game again and made tremendous strides,” Fuller said.
Those three players had a lot to learn when they first stepped on campus. But they have closed that gap as the season has gone on and have made significant progress.
Midfielder Dylan Hurley , midfielder Marc Kaizi-Lutu and back Marcus Cole received little or no playing time this year, with a combined 11 games played and one start between the three. Despite a lack of playing time this year, Fuller believes these three can find their way onto the field more often next year.
“Each young man is a little bit different, you would hope they improve and play a lot of minutes next fall,” he said.
Players such as Lacroix don’t develop overnight, and replacing him and the rest of the seniors will not be an easy task for Fuller and his team. Still, Fuller knows the importance of hard work over the offseason.
“This offseason’s going to be really important for them because they have to continue to work hard and improve, and take what they learned this season and become better players for it,” Fuller said. “Each one of them had a different experience, with ups and downs at different points, but has made tremendous progress.”Comments powered by Disqus
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