MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – After three months of inaction, Penn State Harrisburg will bristle with competition once again when the men's soccer team kicks off the 2019-20 athletic campaign on Friday afternoon, August 30. The Lions are set to host Moravian at the Nittany Soccer Field at 12 p.m., officially ushering in the new athletic season. Before the Blue & White take the field, here's a quick refresher on the program as it looks to build on a 14-win season that included an NCAA Division III Regional Ranking and an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Tournament appearance.
Look Who's Back
Penn State Harrisburg returns a strong core from the group that put together an historic season last fall. The Lions are led by 2018 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) All-Conference Second-Team selection and last year's leading scorer in Joey Aman. The senior leadership will be provided by Oscar Cartagena Jr. and Luis Velasco, while juniors Jared Brewer, Shammah Gahomera, goalkeeper Nicholas Guglielmetti, Zach Hambleton, Mason Jones, Toma Nichik and Alexander Wardle should benefit from the experience they gained a year ago. Fellow juniors include Darion Ferreira, Mohamed Kotby and Robert Messick, and they'll join proven sophomores in Aaron Cummings, Chase Foster, Jacob Krantweiss, Daryl Lucas, Azeem Peters and Austin Warren in expanding their roles this fall.
The Lions also welcome a deep class of 17 freshmen into the fold this season. Griffin Kaifer and Matthew Sheldon provide depth in goal, while Gerald Grant, Harrison Hefner and Eli Hubbard could split time between the midfield and back end this year. Aidan Clark and Ahmed Samura can man the midfield and push up to forward, while the rest of the group that includes Sami Almouzani, Jon Gartley, Bobby Kirsch, Anthony LaVia, William Malawi, Luke Myers, Cameron Raudabaugh, Avery Rhine, Jordan Ventura and Haydyn Zagorski give the Blue & White plenty of options at a plethora of positions on the field.
After six years competing as a member of the CAC, Penn State Harrisburg returns to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) this fall. The Lions will compete as a member of the NEAC for the first time since the 2012-13 athletic season, joining Cazenovia, Gallaudet, Keuka, Lancaster Bible, Morrisville State, Penn College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Poly and Wells in the 12-team league.
Kickin' It With Coach K
Ahead of Friday's season opener, Penn State Harrisburg head coach Dan Krzyzanowicz sat down and took time to preview the upcoming campaign, highlight the team's impressive non-conference slate and discuss the importance of culture to the program's success, among a number of other topics. Krzyzanowicz was joined by top assistant Keenan Schaeffer for the inaugural episode of his new weekly interview series - "Kickin' It With Coach K."
Circle the Date
Sept. 4 – vs. No. 5 Messiah, 5 p.m.
The Lions are set to get a great early-season test when they host perennial powerhouse in No. 5 Messiah less than a week into the 2019 campaign. The Falcons are coming off a 19-win season that included a run to the NCAA Division III Men Soccer Tournament's Elite Eight and are just two years removed from winning a national championship.
Sept. 8 – at SUNY Oneonta, 3:30 p.m.
An easier foe is in order for the Blue & White following an outing with an historical power like Messiah, right? Wrong. Instead, the Lions head north to take on an Oneonta program that has reached the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last eight seasons. This road trip should pay dividends when Penn State Harrisburg begins conference play.
Sept. 25 – vs. Penn State Abington, 1 p.m.
Penn State Abington is coming off a 14-win season that included 10 victories in NEAC play and a second-straight conference championship. Penn State Harrisburg would love nothing more than to re-introduce itself to the NEAC with a victory over the two-time defending champs in front of a home crowd in late September.
The Lions open the 2019 campaign when they host a talented Moravian squad at Nittany Soccer Field on Friday afternoon, August 30. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.