Expectations are High as Capital Takes to the Pitch for the 2016 Season

Expectations are High as Capital Takes to the Pitch for the 2016 Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University men's soccer program gets ready to embark on another season. Cap looks to improve on an overall record of 9-9-1 and looks to contend for a conference championship.                                                                       

Despite finishing last season 7-1-1 in conference play, Capital is predicted to finish third in the OAC. Behind a 7-1-1 record in conference play the Crusaders went into the OAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed. Cap fell in the conference semifinals to John Carroll University, 3-2. When asked about improving on a 7-1-1 conference record Head Coach Alan Yost said, "improving on 7-1-1 is difficult but there are some teams we know we can't drop points to. There are teams that are rivals that we need to beat."

According to Yost, "expectations are high, for the last two years they've been high. If we don't win a conference championship and we're not playing in the NCAA Tournament we can probably consider it a failure."

Capital returns 21 letter winners from last season. Of those 21 players, six were All-OAC. Jacob Pulliam (Westerville, Ohio) heads the list after he received First Team All-OAC, Second Team All-Ohio and all-region honors. Alexander Basiakos (Hilliard, Ohio) was named Second Team All-OAC and received All-Ohio honors. Calvin Saunders (Winston-Salem, N.C.) was also named Second Team All-OAC. Josh McDaniel (Cincinnati, Ohio), Chewy Gordon (Westerville, Ohio) and Justin Niswonger (Centerville, Ohio) earned conference honorable mention.

Pulliam a midfielder, despite missing time due to injury, finished the season with five assists which was good enough for seventh in the OAC. He also tallied two goals. Capital's leading scorer, Saunders, returns as well. Last season he scored six goals and added two assists. Hunter Stiger returns as the Crusaders second leading scorer with five goals. Basiakos and Gordon finished last season with four goals each. Niswonger returns in goal for Cap. Last season he led Capital with 33 saves, a 1.67 goals against average, and a .660 save percentage.

When asked about expectations for this season, Pulliam states, "I want to go to the NCAA Tournament and I want to win the OAC." Basiakos adds, "we have high expectations. At Capital times are changing and the expectations are we are number one in the conference and making it to the NCAA Tournament." Basiakos continues, "it's different from past years, expectations and standards are a lot higher now."

Both Pulliam and Basiakos were honored to have been named All-Ohio. However, both players are focused on the team winning a conference title and making the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, defending OAC Champion Ohio Northern University comes to Bernlohr Stadium. ONU lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is a key matchup for the Crusaders in the quest to an OAC Championship. The final road game of the season features a rematch from last season's conference semifinals with John Carroll University, on Oct. 28. The Crusaders finish the season at home on Oct. 28, against Baldwin Wallace.

The Crusaders will open their season on the road at the Fred Myers Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan University. Capital will face Calvin College on Friday, Sept. 2, at 4:30 p.m. The first home match will be against Finlandia University on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.