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Men's Soccer vs Columbia game Credit: Freda Zhao , Freda Zhao

Sports Reporter Matt Fine:

I think junior soccer forward Alec Neumann is set to become Penn’s most successful fall athlete. The Quakers did not have their best season by any means last year, finishing tied for 5th in the Ivy League with a disappointing overall record of 6-9-2. Neumann, however, was a bright spot. He finished third in the conference in scoring, led the team in minutes and goals and was second in assists and shots.

Neumann’s play did not go unnoticed. He was awarded the Philadelphia Soccer Six Co-offensive Player of the Week in October. That week also included a goal in double overtime to beat Saint Josephs and win the Soccer Six championship for the Red and Blue. By the end of the season, Neumann had earned second-team All-Ivy honors for the second consecutive year.

Although the Quakers graduated four-time All-Ivy forward Duke Lacroix, one of the best scorers in program history, we should look for Neumann to have an even bigger role in the offense. And if there is concern that Lacroix’s absence will hurt the entire offense, look for some of Penn’s freshmen, comprising the No.12 recruiting class in the nation, to play an important supporting role. This could be Neumann’s year to make an enormous impact on Penn soccer.

Summer Sports Editor Tom Nowlan: You make a good point, Matt, but I think you picked the wrong Alek. In my opinion, quarterback Alek Torgersen of the football team will be the big man on campus this fall.

Last season, the then-sophomore had his fair share of ups and downs as the team sputtered to a 2-8 overall record.

But in so doing, the California native put up some video game numbers. He completed 260 passes and generated 2,875 yards of total offense, both the second-most in a season in school history and both behind only Gavin Hoffman in 2000. His 61.8 percent completion percentage was the best by a Quaker QB since 2002. He wracked up 268.9 yards per game, good for second in the Ancient Eight.

Were a lot of those numbers artificially inflated by the fact that Penn passed on nearly every down in the absence of an effective running game? Yes. Did a lot of those passes come in garbage time when the Quakers were trailing by multiple touchdowns? Sure.

But, in what was his first year under center for the Red and Blue, Torgersen more than proved he could do the job. With several key weapons returning — Justin Watson set school single-season records for both catches and yards by a freshman last year — Alek-with-a-K looks primed to take a leap forward in his junior campaign.

Sports Editor Colin Henderson: Thomas Awad wins races. It’s just what he does.

He has proven it time and time again: He’s a school record holder in three different distances, a Heptagonal champion on multiple occasions and altogether one of the most versatile collegiate runners in the nation.

Fellow rising senior and track and field star Sam Mattis may have stolen the show from him at the end of the year, taking home the national title in the shot put while Awad was forced to watch the dominant Edward Cheserek win yet again. But Awad is still the most consistently dominant individual athlete the school has to offer.

And last time I checked, Sam Mattis doesn’t compete in the fall.

So I feel that I would be a fool not to put my faith in Awad to come through with more successes this upcoming season. It’s what he’s done his entire college career, and as a rising senior, that is not about the change.

It would take a herculean effort for any other Penn athlete to keep up with Awad in the fall. In fact, the only question remaining for me is how far ahead he will be when the finish line rolls around.

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