“We will be flexible in how we play in style and system. I’m very impressed with the depth of leadership on the team and how new players have assimilated into the core group and bought into the core values and beliefs.”
Pill further remarked, “Mitchell Holley has played well this preseason and I’ve really been impressed with the leadership of Dave Anderson, Drew DeLozier, Brian Lundquist and Taylor Pill.”
Holley’s speed will be an asset to the team while Lundquist (three goals, three assists, nine points), and Pill (four goals, eight points), are primary offensive threats.
The team will adjust to the departures of many four-year seniors, with a wealth of young talent and potential in newcomers, Marvin Klaudt, Mitchell Mellano, Todd Howard and Tim Rogers.
The back line is anchored by sophomore Drew DeLozier and senior Dave Anderson, with Josh Knoedler and Hunter Scott most likely completing the back line. The midfield will be flexible with a core group of sophomores playing different roles.
The keeper position changes with the return of Tyler Holley, after a one-year absence, and first-year player Kyle Kutz, bidding for playing time.
“Many of the players have a real heart for service and involvement on campus, are intent on using soccer as a ministry tool, as well as striving for excellence themselves on the field. Training has been spirited and very focused during the past few weeks. Some of the sessions have been as productive as any training session that I’ve seen at Maranatha since my arrival. I’m very happy with the quality individuals that keep coming through the system.” stated Pill.
Assistant coaches Chris Jochum and Alex Board, alumni from the most recent squad to reach the National Tournament, have added intensity and a mature perspective to the daily training.
The Crusaders hope to develop a consistent chemistry in time for a first week of the season that includes four NCCAA Regional finalists, two of which are National champion, Moody Bible and runner-up, Northland International.
The Crusaders open the season against Grace Bible on Friday, August 31 at 5:00 p.m. at Grand Rapids, Mich.