#13 Saint Louis Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Saint Louis Billikens

Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10
#13 Saint Louis Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Saint Louis Team Page


The 2012 season was nice, at least until the tournament, but this is the year Saint Louis has been building for. Coach Mike McGinty has done an amazing job assembling a program that can compete year in and year out. Last year was the breakthrough campaign as Saint Louis went 16-5-0 overall and earned the number eight overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost their first contest to Fairleigh Dickinson, but with ten starters back, the Billikens are ready for another run at the A-10 title and a much more productive November.

2012 Record: 16-5-0, 7-2-0
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike McGinty

The most dangerous thing about Saint Louis is that the opposition never knows where the scoring is going to come from, although Robert Kristo is a good place to start. The 6-4 junior netted a team high 11 goals and is a superb target in the box. But there are plenty of other scorers too. Adnan Gabeljic is another big striker and he added seven goals. Midfielder Kingsley Bryce also found the back of the net seven times. The rest of the midfield is loaded with athletic talent too. Alex Sweeting scored six goals and tallied five assists and Raymond Lee is not afraid to shoot. William Hidalgo usually does not add much scoring punch, although he did total two goals and one assist in just 12 games, but he brings the toughness to the midfield. The player to watch is David Graydon. As a freshman, the 5-5 Irishman scored two goals and led the Billikens with seven assists. He can take on defenders and could emerge as the catalyst of the Saint Louis offense. At the least he will be another option in a loaded group.

The defense is not bad by any means. The team allowed just 18 goals in 2012 and just about everybody is back. This is a team that shutout Louisville during the regular season and blanked Xavier and VCU in the A-10 tournament. Jon Roeckle is the back who gets involved the most in the offense, as he found the back of the net three times and added six assists, but sophomore Marco Heskamp could turn into the leader of the back line. Fellow sophomore started all 21 games as a freshman and the 6-4 Anthony Manning can clear out just about anything headed his way. Keeper Nick Schackelford has kept improving over the years and his senior season could be a very good one. Not counting the Fairleigh Dickinson game, Shackelford was playing his best at the end of the 2012 campaign and if he can build off of that momentum, the Billikens will have one of the best keepers in the A-10.

Final Projection:
Yet the real weakness for this team and this program is finding the confidence to win the big games. That concern appeared to be over after Saint Louis swept through the A-10 tournament like Xavier and VCU were George Washington and Butler. The Musketeers were one of the few teams that beat the Billikens during the regular season and VCU took them to overtime. Of course the biggest game was at the friendly confines of Hermann Stadium against Fairleigh Dickinson where it took a relatively late goal by Kristo to force the game into overtime. Less than three minutes in and the luck of the Billiken was gone and Saint Louis was done. This group is not going to forget what happened and they could either use it to make sure it never happens again or they could head into big games playing overly cautious.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Robbie Kristo, Junior, F, 11
Assists: David Graydon, Sophomore, M, 7
Shots: Robbie Kristo, Junior, F, 58
Saves: Nick Shackelford, Senior, GK, 71


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