Gents look to build in 2015 upon foundation built last season
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
East Texas Baptist (0-1)
Centenary (1-0)
9/1/2015 | Centenary, La. | Attendance: 150
East Texas Baptist011
CENTMS55:29Ivann Amaya
ETBU75:34Joel Botello (Justin Adams )
CENTMS76:24Michael Pullano (Ivann Amaya , Jeremy Klespis)
ETBUJuan Perales90:0023
CENTMSRylan Whan90:0019
Stats at a GlanceETBUCENTMS
Shots (on Goal)17 (10)11 (5)
Corner Kicks94
Yellow Cards13
Red Cards01

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The Gents soccer program looks to continue major strides they took last season for 2015, the second campaign under the direction of head coach Emmett Rutkowski.

In his first season in 2014, Rutkowski helped a Centenary soccer program that was 2-18 in 2013 and garnered two more wins as well as three ties. Eight of the 12 losses were by one goal and two were in overtime.

“It has been an enjoyable 15 months in rebuilding the program and creating the right culture for success at Centenary,” said Rutkowski. “We will be young and sometimes inexperienced, but we will compete with a tough, gritty attitude, and a willingness to win games.  I know the boys are anxious for September 1, but most importantly, we are ready to play a complete, successful schedule by winning more games this season.”

The Gents also saw nearly a half goal per game improvement on offense and gave up 20 less goals on defense – despite playing one less game –from the 2014 campaign. In fact, the Gents went from a 37-5 goal deficit in the first half in 2013 to an 11-10 advantage in 2014.

The Gents return their leading scorer from the 2014 season in sophomore Ivann Amaya. Amaya became the first Centenary men’s soccer player since the 2012 season to garner Second Team All-Conference honors. He led the team and finished eighth in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in goals scored with six.

“We return our All-Conference forward/midfielder Ivann Amaya, and we are excited to see him improve from his success last year. His hard work ethic this past spring and summer will give him building blocks for a productive sophomore campaign,” said Rutkowski.

Centenary boasts five seniors for the 2015 campaign, including senior John Vasquez choosing to add soccer to his playing resume after suiting up for the Gents lacrosse team in 2015. Senior Zach Kidder is the leading returner with two goals and one assist for five points last season.

In the box, the Gents will have two experienced players in Kaleb Behm and Rylan Whan. Whan started the most games in goal for Centenary in 2014, garnering a 2-10-3 record with four shutouts. Despite finishing with a 1.98 goals allowed average, Whan’s average dips to 1.34 when the contests against nationally ranked Trinity are excluded.

Behm, who started his first game in a Gents uniform last season, finished 2014 1-1.

“We believe we have one of the best goalkeeping units in the SCAC,” said Rutkowski “Rylan Whan certainly proved he was one of the best goalkeepers in the conference last year, and we think he can continue to grow and produce more clean sheets this season.”

The defense does not always get a mention in soccer as stats are minimal, but Rotkowski feels the group of senior Jake Morrison and Vasquez, junior Shane Edmonson, and freshmen William McLean, Joshua Shelton, and Stratton Stephenson will be the backbone of the team for the upcoming season.

“We hope to continue to build the culture of being a tough, hard-nosed team.  We will look to junior captain, Shane Edmondson, and seniors Jake Morrison and John Vasquez to anchor the back and build on four shutouts from last season.”

Finally, the midfield features senior captain Michael Pullano, who tallied a goal last season for the Gents. Senior Zachary Kidder – who is the third-highest returner in goals (two), assists (one), and points (five) in 2014 –, and junior Jeremy Klespis, with four goals in 2014, round out a formidable middle.

“We expect Michael to give us leadership and direction in the middle of the field,” explained Rutkowski. “Jeremy Klespis will provide us speed and a tremendous work rate on the outside, and we will count on a few newcomers to help facilitate our attack.”

The Gents also boast eight freshmen for the 2015 season.

“I am excited to have my first full recruiting class at Centenary. I have developed relationships with this group in the past year, and I look forward to developing them as a coach, mentor, and teacher,” explained Rutkowski.  “From a soccer standpoint, they compete at a high level, and they have worked hard this summer developing their fitness and preparing themselves for the rigors of college soccer.  This freshman class will make an impact from day one and it will be fun to watch them mature.”

It will not be long before the Gents are thrust into the conference slate after only three non-conference games. They take on Austin Friday night, September 11.

“I truly enjoy competing in a home and away series in the SCAC because the best team will rise to the top and the tournament seeds are very accurate from the success of the regular season,” said Rutkowski.

The 2015 Centenary men’s soccer team begins the 2015 season September 1 at 7 p.m. against East Texas Baptist.