PORTSMOUTH — The Shawnee State University men’s soccer and volleyball programs will begin their regular seasons this week, with men’s soccer opening up its home schedule with a game against Cornerstone (Mich.) on Thursday evening and the volleyball team following that by playing in the Vette City Classic on Friday and Saturday.
The women’s soccer program closes the out the week with a road contest at West Virginia Tech in its road opener, three days following a scrimmage against Rio Grande.
In the season opener for the men’s soccer team, the Bears will be taking on a program that it has never played before in Cornerstone (Mich.) — when the pair square off at 8 p.m. at Shawnee Turf on Thursday evening.
Heading into the 2021 season, Shawnee State returns a formidable front line, led by Kevin de Lange and Joao Toledo.
The duo combined to post 19 goals and six assists in the shortened campaign last year, and have combined for 54 goals and 29 assists over their careers.
Cornerstone, meanwhile, lost just one player from last season’s 6-6-1 showing and brings back starting goalkeeper Alan Roman (56 saves, four shutouts in 11 games) — as well as key offensive threats Nate Kaercher (four goals, assist) and David Mawi (three goals, two assists).
Allan Barrientos (three assists) and Roberto Razo (two assists) also return.
Ron Goodson will return for his 23rd season as the head coach of the Bears.
The women’s soccer team, following a Wednesday evening scrimmage against Rio Grande, will face West Virginia Tech in a contest that will be held in Beckley, W. Va. at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The SSU women, which are led by fourth-year head coach Natasha Ademakinwa, return key pieces in Paige Alford (six goals, two assists) and Alba Closa Tarres (five goals, three assists) — along with Shelbi Ritchie, who earned second-team all-MSC honors as a freshman goalkeeper.
Eilidh Mchattie returns to lead the defense while incoming talents Madison Humble, Leonie Heck and Carliota Ipina Taylor are among the many critical newcomers to the roster.
Senior forward Brittany Dye represents West Virginia Tech’s best offensive threat, having notched eight goals and an assist to lead the Golden Bears’ returnees on that end of the pitch.
Jodie Pallant and Anna Baker combined for three goals and four assists last year for West Virginia Tech, and are back this season.
The SSU volleyball team begins its 2021 regular season with a big four-match tilt at the Vette City Classic in Bowling Green, Ky. on Friday and Saturday.
With just one player departing at the end of last season from a unit that finished an abbreviated campaign with an improved 11-12 record under Devan Scarberry, SSU has a chance to make major progress with the return of NAIA All-American Macie Rhoads as well as Maria Kolinoff, who will be exercising her extra season of eligibility that was given back due to the effects of COVID-19 on the collegiate landscape.
Front line returnees include Nash Shelby, Bella Gill and Bethany Colling — along with back line talents Maddie Payne, Emilee Cochran, Darian Fiesler and versatile threats Alli McQuay and Madison Rowe.
Abbie Kallner joins the program from the women’s basketball side of things and brings strong depth to the setting and defensive positions, having collected over 2,000 assists in high school play at Wheelersburg — while fellow Southeast District talents Haidyn Wamsley (Northwest), Olivia Fliehman (Miami Trace) and Emily Boggs (Wheelersburg) each add impressive depth to the front line.
Kayla Haemmerle, a Union (Ky.) transfer who also adds setting and defensive depth, rounds out the 15-player roster.
Live stat links will be produced later in the week prior to the start of the Vette City Classic.
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club and https://givetossu.com/sponsorthebears.