Overall Rank: #40
Conference Rank: #5 Big East
Xavier Team Page
The Xavier soccer program is taking a big step. The move to the Big East will be a tough transition for the Musketeers. It is not just teams like Creighton, Georgetown and Marquette that will make life difficult for Coach Andy Fleming and company, but the quality of the league from top to bottom is something this program has not seen before. However, this is a talented team and they will not drop to the bottom of any league. A middle of the pack finish would be a good season and a middle of the pack finish could put Xavier right on the bubble.
2012 Record: 14-3-5, 6-1-2
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Andy Fleming
The Xavier midfield returns plenty of talent and Coach Fleming will adjust the style of play to fit that strength. Gino De Paoli, Matt Walker and Will Walker are all extremely effective players. The trio combined to net 24 goals and record 25 assists. The Walker brothers have a knack for finding the back of the net and should see more opportunities now that forward Luke Spencer is gone. De Paoli can shoot too, but his vision and passing skills are what make him special. He will set up one Walker or the other on countless occasions in 2013. De Paoli will also be the guy who helps the new scorers up top. Spencer led the team with 14 goals and no single player is going to replace him. However, the Musketeers will still have a decent scoring punch. Andrew Jordan, who tallied three goals as a sophomore, could be Spencer’s replacement. Calum Latham and incoming freshman Jalen Brown could earn some quality minutes as well. This team may not score nearly as much as they did last season, but that is partly due to the likelihood that Coach Fleming will slow things down while his new strikers adjust. With the talent in the attacking part of the midfield, the Musketeers will be a threat to find the back of the net when they need to.
As much as losing Spencer hurts, replacing keeper Justin Marshall and defenders James Queree, Sean Ryan and Adar Cohen may prove to be more difficult. There is talent returning, but it seems like Marshall has been directing the same defense for a long time. In fact, Marshall and the trio of departing defenders had started 55 consecutive games together. Senior South Florida transfer Eric Osswald is the slight favorite to be the starting goalie in 2013. Freshman Vince Shaw is a quality option between the posts as well, but Osswald’s experience means something. The back line has options too. Nick Hagglund is not an option; he is the leader of the team. The senior all-everything will make the defense effective even with all of the new pieces. That will make it much easier for players like Rhodes Moore and Owen Steinwall to fill in around Hagglund. Newcomers Walker Androit, Todd Pratzer and Jacob Smith will also get a long look. Smith is the most promising of the freshmen and has the potential to develop into a very dynamic player.
Tanner Petrick and Garrett Halfhill are often underappreciated, but they will help Hagglund usher in the new look defense. The defensive midfielders are both experienced players who can make Coach Fleming’s pace adjustments to come to fruition. Yet, even if all the losses are replaced effectively, Xavier still has the matter of a much tougher schedule to deal with. This is a group that can beat anybody in the Big East on any given day, but they will not be able to have a bad outing against any team in the conference and come away with a positive result.
Projected Postseason: None
Goals: Matt Walker, Senior, 11
Assists: Matt Walker, Senior, 10
Shots: Matt Walker, Senior, 55
Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#74 Jacob Smith