Owens Community College men’s soccer plans to contend for its first-ever conference title by opening the 2012 schedule at home against Cincinnati State Technical and Community College today. The match begins at 1 p.m.
All home matches are played at the college’s Soccer Field on the on Oregon Road at its main campus in Perrysburg Township. Admission to all home matches is free.
The men’s soccer program is led by Head Coach Art Johnson and Assistant Coach Dave Prediger.
In 2011, the Express finished with a 13-8 overall record, third place (10-6 record) in the NJCAA Region XII men’s soccer regular season standings. The Express lost to Jackson Community College in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Region XII Championships.
“We have a great group of student-athletes representing the Express men’s soccer program,” Johnson said. “They are a very cohesive group that plays together. We are also very balanced on both sides of the field. Our schedule is extremely difficult with tough non-conference opponents. We will need to play at a very high level in every match. I expect our team to be in the hunt for a championship and much more.”
The Express has seven players returning to the roster.
Among the second-year players on Johnson’s squad are Nickyle Webber of Trelawny, Jamaica (Cornwall College), Novak Vuk Janicic of Belgrade, Serbia (Electro Tehnicka School) and Blake Niemiec of Bowling Green (Otsego H.S.).
In 2011, Webber earned team Most Valuable Player honors and was an OCCAC All-Conference First Team and an NJCAA All-Region XII Second Team selection. The sophomore midfielder totaled 11 goals and 27 points. Vuk Janicic is a sophomore forward and was named the team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player and OCCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year. His postseason honors also included OCCAC All-Conference First Team and NJCAA All-Region XII Second Team. Vuk Janicic led the team with 14 goals and 37 points. Niemiec, a sophomore defender, was named the team’s Most Improved Player recipient. He totaled one point for the Express.
Also returning to the Express program are Juavanie Cole of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Coconut Creek H.S.), Glenroy Miller of Newark, N.J. (St. James H.S.), David Ortega-Gonzalez of Madrid, Spain (Nazaret Oporto College) and Chris Kervick of Waterford, Ireland (De La Salle College).
Last year, Cole, a sophomore midfielder, totaled six assists and 12 points. His postseason honors included OCCAC All-Conference Second Team. Miller, a sophomore forward, totaled 16 goals and 37 points for the Express in 2010. Ortega-Gonzalez was an OCCAC Academic All-Conference selection last year. The sophomore midfielder totaled three points. Kervick, a sophomore defender, recorded five goals and 13 points for the Express in 2011.
First-year players to the Express men’s soccer program are Josh Kleinow of Holt, Mich., goalie (Haslett H.S.); Jacob Martin of Maumee, midfielder (St. John’s Jesuit H.S.); Odaine Edwards of Colorado Springs, Colo., defender (Cornwall College); Vijay Gentles of Tamarac, Fla., midfielder (Cedric Titus H.S.); Brandon Cruz of Mentor, defender (Lake Catholic H.S.); Virgil Garcia of Holland, midfielder (Toledo Christian School); Piet-Lennart Louwes of Sycamore, midfielder (Upper Sandusky H.S.); Troy Watson of Toronto, Canada, midfielder (Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School); Abraham Adoure-Zehaim of Maumee, defender (Springfield H.S.); Bryant Philo of Millbury, defender (Lake H.S.); Derrick Skillman of Upper Sandusky, forward (Upper Sandusky H.S.); Osvaldo Paredes of Pemberville, midfielder (Eastwood H.S.); Nate Seeman of Maumee, defender (Springfield H.S.); Tyler Kortokrax of Kalida, defender (Kalida H.S.); Jeffery Harding of Howell, Mich., goalie/midfielder (Howell H.S.), and Caleb Vespi of Pemberville, defender (Eastwood H.S.).