The tradition-rich Hope College men's soccer team launches its fifth decade of intercollegiate competition this weekend with the challenge of rebuilding its scoring offense with a relative young lineup.
The Flying Dutchmen will play in a tournament Friday and Saturday (Sept. 1-2) at Ohio Wesleyan University. It will be the first of three tournaments on consecutive weekends before the Flying Dutchmen launch MIAA conference play.
The team's home debut will be Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8-9 when the Dutchmen and Calvin exchange opponents.
A year ago coach Steven Smith's Dutchmen posted a 13-6-1 record and a fourth place finish in the MIAA. Four of the team's losses were one-goal decision and three of those by a 1-0 margin. The Flying Dutchmen allowed only 15 goals over 20 games gaining nine shutout victories. The team's top four scorers were seniors.
The pre-season roster lists only two seniors, midfielder Stephen Rabuck of Myerstown, Pa. and forward Ben Bacon of Portage, Mich. Rabuck is also an all-MIAA tracksters having won the 800-meter run at the league championships last spring. There isn't a lack of experience, however, as the roster includes 18 returning letterwinners.
Tri-captains of the team will be juniors Andrew Riker of Kalamazoo, Mich. and former high school teammates Tim Keeler and Jon Kucinski of Portage, Mich. (Portage Northern HS). A midfielder, Keeler was voted to the All-MIAA second team last fall.
Other returning letterwinners include sophomore Adam Chaffee of Ann Arbor, Mich., sophomore Sean Duffey of Marshall, Mich., sophomore Brett Harring of Holland, Mich., sophomore Travis Jonker of Petoskey, Mich., sophomore Tim Kelly of Kalamazoo, Mich., sophomore Bryant Loomis of Fredonia, N.Y., sophomore Matt Margaron of Naperville, Ill., junior Charlie Matz of Petoskey, Mich., junior Devin Nuner of South Bend, Ind., sophomore Luke Rumohr of Mason, Mich., sophomore Tim Stowe of Valparaiso, Ind., sophomore Scott Van Timmeren of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Marcus Voss of Holland, Mich.