#44 Xavier Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

Overall Rank: #44
#5 Big East
#44 Xavier Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Xavier Team Page


The expectations were high for Xavier last season. That is what happens when you are coming off of three straight NCAA appearances. However, the Musketeers were just not able to get off to good starts. To open the season they lost their first three games and then they lost their first two Big East contests. From there it was an uphill battle. Xavier did end up with their fourth consecutive ten win season, but that was not enough to reach the NCAA Tournament.

2013 Record: 10-7-2, 6-3-0
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Andy Fleming

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Will Walker, Senior, M, 5
Assists: Garrett Halfhill, Senior, M/D, 3
Shots: Will Walker, Senior, M, 22; Jalen Brown, Sophomore, F, 22
Saves: Eric Osswald, Senior, GK, 63

Other Key Returnees: F Calum Latham, D Todd Pratzner, D Matt Hill, M Rhodes Moore, D/M Chris Moore, M Kyle Martin, GK Vince Shaw

Key Losses: M Matt Walker, M Gino De Paoli, D Nick Hagglund, D John McDermott, M Tanner Patrick

Despite the loss of Big East Defensive Player of the Year Nick Hagglund, Xavier is still going to play solid defense. Last season they allowed just 19 goals in 19 games. Keeper Eric Osswald is back for his senior season and should be a rock between the posts for the Musketeers. Defensive midfielder Garrett Halfhill will anchor a defensive unit that will be young, but extremely talented. Senior Matt Hill is the most experienced back and Todd Pratzner, who started 11 games before suffering an injury, is full of promise. With Chris Moore also in the mix, Xavier has some quality pieces to build around. But the potential is in the freshmen. Walker Androit, Cory Brown and Matt Nance will all be in the mix for major minutes in the back.

Matt Walker is gone after easily leading the team with nine goals and seven assists. In fact, Xavier returns players who scored just 11 of their 25 goals from 2013. Will Walker is the top returning scorer, with five goals, yet the hope is players like Jalen Brown and Calum Lathan can step up and turn into consistent goal scorers. Brown is a speedy sophomore who netted three goals last season and Lathan is a big target in the box. Majed Osman, a transfer from West Virginia, is the team’s most experienced goal scorer. He found the back of the net six times and dished out seven assists for the Mountaineers last season and earned All-MAC honors. Alex Risdale brings another scoring option to Coach Andy Fleming’s squad, but he comes from the Division II ranks and may have a tough time finding as much space in the Big East.

Final Projection:
This will be an interesting year for Xavier. They were developing into a consistent NCAA Tournament team until last season threw everybody for a loop. And now they have to move on with Hagglund, Walker and creative midfielder Gino De Paoli. On paper this group should take a step back compared to last year, but they certainly underperformed in 2013. If the newcomers live up to their potential and somebody can finish, the Musketeers will be close to starting a new NCAA Tournament streak.

Projected Postseason: None

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.32 (90th in nation, 7th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.96 (51, 4)
Shutout Percentage: 0.32 (72, 5)
Save Percentage:  0.779 (73, 6)


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