BELTON (August 30, 20120 -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s soccer team will officially open the 2012 season at home Friday against Wayland Baptist. The two teams will face off in a 7 p.m. start at the Cru Sports Plex.
The UMHB men played the NAIA’s No. 13 ranked Huston-Tillotson in an exhibition game at home on August, 24th. That game does not count in the team’s win-loss record because the NCAA does not recognize exhibition games as official contests. Though the Cru suffered a 1-3 loss, head coach Brad Bankhead is positive about the upcoming season and the batch of newcomers this season.
“They didn’t look like they were scared to death to play,” Bankhead said. “They played well. They didn’t look like they were nervous going in and did exactly what I wanted them to do. I was really, really pleased with the newcomers.”
The Cru also welcomes back 21 lettermen and six starters from a team that went 11-4-3 overall and 10-3-0 in the American Southwest Conference a season ago. Chris Torres returns for his senior season and was named the ASC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Torres led the Cru in points (19), goals (seven) and assists (five) last season. He was also named First-Team All-ASC and earned a spot on the NSCAA All-Region team, both for the second consecutive year.
Joining Torres in the midfield is fellow senior Derek Geels. Geels recorded two goals and one assist last season, despite missing several games due to injury. Sophomore John Williams will be expected to provide an offensive threat for the Cru this season. Williams ranked third on the team in points (12), goals (five) and assists (two) as a freshman last year. Goalkeeper Brandon Stegmeyer will be expected to take over the starting spot left open by the graduation of Adam Cecil. He will be helped defensively by returnees Brandon Dutton, Isaiah Minick and Tyler Wicks.
Bankhead is back for his seventh season as UMHB’s men’s soccer coach. He is a two-time ASC Coach of the Year. Bankhead is 64-35-10 overall in his six seasons with the Cru and has taken the UMHB men to five ASC tournament berths and the first NCAA Division III National Championships appearance in the history of the program.
Following Friday’s match, the Cru will begin a five-game road streak against Austin College in Sherman, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 1st at 5 p.m. UMHB will return home on Sept. 20th when they face East Texas Baptist at 7:30 p.m.