Season Recap: Gents Soccer Season Defined by Success
Monday, November 7, 2011

It was a season defined by success. It showcased experienced and exposed a multitude of contributions. Posting a 13-3-1 overall record and an 11-2-1 mark in its first year as a member of the American Southwest Conference, the Centenary men's soccer team redefined a new era under fourth-year head coach David Orr and has many highlights from the season to reflect upon.

The Gents ended the season on active six-game winning streak, which included five shutouts in the final three weeks of play. Despite being ineligible for postseason play due to Centenary's transition from NCAA Division I to Division III, the Gents unofficially posted the best record in the ASC conference standings at 11-2-1, compiling 34 points on the conference's qualifying system, which would have ranked them as regular season champions had that been possible.

It has been since 2002 that Centenary posted a winning record and 2011 marked the second most wins since that season when the team tallied 14 wins.

"It was challenging in new competition, level of competition (not worse - just different), and learning what new expectations and standards to set," said head coach David Orr. "I am happy for the players and their successes; however I can't help but feel that we could have done better. All-in-all, the returning players led both on the field and off, and the newcomers were able to meet the expectations set at the beginning of the season."

10 seniors were honored for their contributions to the program in the Gents' final home game of 2011, but it was their leadership and ability to buy into Orr's coaching philosophy that paved the way for such a successful season to recap. 8 of the 10 seniors had at least three years of Division I experience, which allowed the team to focus their attention on finishing their careers with their best season yet. And that they did.

Seniors: RB Asenime (3 G/6 pts), Ben Barcelona (2 G/2A/6 pts), Aaron Bergman (1 G/2 A/4 pts), Ryan Christianson (1 G/5 A/7 pts), Jihad Elaydi (1 G/1 A/3 pts), Tate McIntyre (1 G/2 pts), Kyle Mehnert (2 A/2 pts), Marcos Rodriguez (7 G/7 A/21 pts), Glauber Santos, and Cody Wolfe.

"It will be difficult to replace the experience of those eight seniors, and we will all miss them tremendously. However, I believe that those eight seniors have set a standard and given both the returning players and coaches a clearer picture of what the future of the Gents Soccer program should be," said Orr. "This 2012 recruiting class is important, and we expect to bring in an exceptional class that will not only help to continue the legacy built by the 2011 Gents, but to add to that legacy!"

21 of the 32 goals scored this season by Centenary came from Gents' who recorded their first career goals this year. Junior Spencer Nickerson tallied five goals this year, notching his first career goal against Texas Lutheran (9/17) at home. Junior John Finn and senior RB Asenime each recorded their first career goals this season, while finishing with three. Senior Ben Barcelona, juniors Adam Ghaemmaghami and John Seat as well as freshman Gabriel Zahm, Brandon Heim and Kellan Klaus each tallied a career first goal.

Centenary outscored its opponents, 32 to 15 this season and 14 of the 21 field players recorded at least one goal for the Gents. 16 of the 32 goals were scored by seniors, 10 by juniors, and six by freshmen. The team also managed to post an impressive .498 shot on goal percentage to its opponents' .445. 10 Gents sank game-winners, which was 13 on the year. Four came off the foot of scoring leader senior Marcos Rodriguez, while nine others each tallied one.

Centenary tallied just one loss at home while playing under the lights in front of an energetic crowd on Mayo Field this season. They say home field advantage makes a difference. In the Gents' case, Mayo Field was as good as they come. The only loss came in a 1-0 fall to cross-town rival, LSU-Shreveport back on September 12. Centenary managed to post an 8-1-1 record on its home field this year. The team also was able to play in front of an average crowd size of nearly 500 every game.

With 11 newcomers to the 2011 squad, the Gents knew that relying on their newcomers to step up and provide their team with offensive and defensive contributions would have to be evident for them to be successful and on a positive note: they did. Junior foreign exchange student John Finn led the newcomers with six points on three goals, while freshman Gabriel Zahm posted five points on two goals and one assist. Freshmen Brandon Heim and Kellan Klaus each recorded two goals for four points.

After playing two years as the backup goal keeper, junior Robbie Ramirez had his first full year to shine in goal for the Gents and he made his moment memorable. The Dallas, Texas native collected 75 saves for a .872 save percentage. He played 1,400 minutes in goal, while tallying a final record of 12-3-1 on the year with nine shutouts.

Ramirez collected nine saves against Howard Payne (10/22) for a season-best and held his opponents scoreless the last five contests on the year, while tallying 34 saves during those five shutouts.

Head Coach David Orr describes senior Marcos Rodriguez as the ideal student-athlete and that is evident after the midfielder's most successful season yet. Rodriguez led the Gents in every offensive category, including points scored with 21. He tallied seven goals and seven assists and four game-winners this year. He was 2-for-2 on penalty kicks and tallied a .558 shot on goal percentage with 24 of his 43 shots landing on goal. He started 16 of the 17 contests, averaging nearly three shots a game. For his efforts on and off the field, Rodriguez was recently named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District First Team and is now up for All-American status, which will be released at a later date.

In just his fourth season at the helm of the Gents' program, David Orr enjoyed his first winning season since he began. An impressive 13-3-1 record notched his first 10-win season and best since dating back to 2002, when Jed Jones led the program.

"Throughout the season, this 2011 Gents' squad continued to build on team chemistry on the field (it is great off the field!). Just past the midway point in the season, you could see that this team was beginning to realize their identity allowing us to peak going into the end of the year, with six straight victories," said Orr.

Orr and the Gents' commitment to the Shreveport-Bossier community proved noteworthy this season when they joined forces with LSU-Shreveport head coach Mike Aguilar to create the First Annual Mayor's Cup match featuring Centenary and LSUS. The game became an effort to support the Shreveport March of Dimes chapter as the two teams raised nearly $800 on donations and food sales at the game that went directly to March of Dimes. The Mayor's Cup will be an annual tradition for the two schools as LSUS took home the victory in both the men's and women's games this year.

With the success of 2011, the future of the Gents Soccer program looks bright as Orr and assistant coach Dragan Hinic look to build on this success heading into 2012.