TOWSON, Md. – The Tigers begin the 2012 men’s soccer season Friday when they play host to Monmouth University beginning at 5 p.m. at the Tiger Soccer Complex.
Following a 3-11-2 record last season, the Tigers have a solid foundation with which to build on with junior forward Olakunle Banjo. Banjo was named to the Preseason All-CAA team after scoring 10 points in only 12 games last season. A talented player, Banjo has 29 points (11 goals) in 29 career games.
Joining Banjo on offense will be midfielder Christian Höfer, who led the team last season with five goals and 11 points, senior midfielder Phil Martinelli (nine points last season) and junior forward Enrico Skrypzak.
Höfer was named co-captain of the team along with sophomore defender Daniel Grundei, who should be a key asset on the Tiger defense. Grundei started every game last season and scored his first career goal in the Tigers’ 1-0 season finale victory over Georgia State.
Monmouth enters the season having won every Northeast Conference Championship since 2005. The Hawks return Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate Ryan Clark, a midfielder who led the conference with eight assists in 2011, and goalkeeper Alex Blackburn. The senior was stellar in the net last season, finishing 10th nationally with a 0.61 goals-against average.
Towson head coach Frank Olszewski is aware of the challenge Monmouth presents as the season begins.
“Monmouth is a nationally-ranked opponent and is very well coached,” he said. “They will certainly provide a challenge to our team. It is a great opportunity to have a team of this caliber playing us at the Tiger Soccer Complex.”