Menís Soccer Moving Into Next
Generation With McClements At Helm 8/14/02
things are guaranteed for the Vanderbilt men's soccer team
as it enters the 2002 season. The squad will enter the campaign
with a different look and a different attitude.
After 29 years of leading the
Commodores, Randy Johnson stepped down from his head coaching
position to pursue other interests. Things will not look the
same when starring over at the bench, as he has been the only
coach throughout the existence of the men's soccer program.
Taking over the head coaching
reigns is former Southern Methodist University assistant and
Eastern Illinois head coach, Tim McClements. One thing that
will make McClements transition easier is that the Commodores
return 21 players (19 field players and two goalkeepers) from
their 2001 squad. Of the 19 field players returning, not one
played in less than five games last season.
"I am looking forward to beginning
a new era of Vanderbilt soccer," McClements says. "I feel
very fortunate to inherit a very experienced team with a tremendous
amount of potential. My goal is to build a nationally recognized
program and I believe we have a solid foundation to build
Another bonus is that five of
Vanderbilt's top six scorers return. Leading the way are seniors
Nik DeMello and Charlie White. DeMello and White combined
for nine goals and 23 points. They were able to achieve this
success while only playing in 15 games apiece, both starting
With 21 players returning and
five incoming freshmen joining the team, the Commodores look
to get back on the winning track after two-consecutive losing
seasons. McClements will need to establish more continuity
in the Commodores' lineup if he wants to get the squad to
the next level. Of the players returning this season, only
seniors Nick Barker, Chris Yingling and John Nelson started
and played in all 17 games in 2001.
One area the men's soccer team will look to improve in is
its offense. In 2001, the Commodores recorded only 24 goals
in 17 games. What will make this position one of the strongest
is the fact that five of the top six scorers return from last
season. Leading the way are Nik DeMello and Charlie White.
DeMello led the Commodores with five goals and three assists
for a total of 13 points. White chipped in with four goals
and two assists for 10 points. Both players had successful
campaigns while dealing with injuries the majority of the
Following a solid freshman campaign
where he totaled 14 points, junior Jimmy Stone struggled through
his sophomore season because of a reoccurring concussion that
kept him out the majority of the season. Stone saw action
in only 13 games, but only cracked the starting lineup in
Senior Danny Sable, junior Brian
Lamping, sophomore Mason DeMello and freshman Brent Richard
will give coach McClements a great deal of depth at the forward
position. Sable, Lamping and DeMello combined to play in 25
games last season. Richard's will be a solid addition to the
Commodores' lineup. Last year while playing high school soccer
in Texas, he tallied 22 goals and dished out 11 assists. For
his success, he was voted district MVP and first-team all
Even though the Commodores will be young in the midfield,
it could be one of their strongest positions for the upcoming
season. Of the six players that will try and hold down the
middle of the field, there is not one senior. Senior Chris
Perez, juniors Jeff Baker, Jack Hartley, sophomores Brendan
Matthews and Steve Chromik combined to play in 44 games last
season, but more importantly started 39 of those.
With Vanderbilt looking for a
boost in its offense, these five players along with freshmen
Kyle Lapkewych and Brady Hyde will be looked upon to give
the Commodores some added offense. Baker, Hartley, Matthews
and Chromik combined for seven goals and five assists for
a total of 19 points. Perez returns to the squad after sitting
out his junior season.
Lapkewych and Hyde both come
to Vanderbilt following successful high school careers in
Michigan and Missouri, respectively. While playing for Sterling
Heights High School in Michigan, Lapkewych set the school
record for career (100) and single-season (28) goals. Following
a successful 2002 campaign, Lapkewych earned all-conference,
metro and state honors and was named a finalist for the Michigan
2002 'Mr. Soccer' Award. Hyde knows one or two things about
winning, as he was a member of the 2001 co-National Championship
team while attending Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis.
One area the Commodores look to improve in is their defense;
however, the opportunities for success looks pretty good as
nine members of the 2002 roster are defenders. In 2001, Vanderbilt's
defense surrendered 36 goals, and it allowed three or more
goals in six games.
Leading this year's defense are
seniors John Nelson, Chris Yingling, Nick Barker and Josh
White. These four were the only players to start and play
in every game they played in last season. Nelson, Yingling
and Barker started all 17 games in 2001, while White missed
only one game.
Junior Shaun Lieser, sophomores
Ryan Paugh, Brady Savell and Josh Ratner did not see significant
time during the 2001 season, combining to play in only 29
games. However, the four are expected to see a significant
increase in playing time, which give the Commodores' defense
an added boost. Freshman Marc Aleksinas, who attended The
Taft School in Watertown, Conn. but is from Greenville, S.C.,
was an all-state player in Connecticut and New England Prep
Another area with a great deal
of experience is the goalkeeper position. Seniors Matt Gotterer
and Brad Winter give Vanderbilt a solid one-two punch in net,
and freshman Scott Cunningham will have the opportunity to
learn under two experienced goalkeepers.
Gotterer, who was the only Vanderbilt's
player to earn All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades in
2001 with his honorable mention selection, looks to pick up
where he left off from a statistical standpoint. In 12 appearances
last year, he had a solid goals against average of 1.54, but
in conference action he had an incredible average of 0.95.
Gotterer also registered one shutout (Bradley 11/4) and 58
saves. Winter played in eight games last season, which he
started seven. While his goals against average was above two,
he still provides the Commodores with a proven goalie who
step in and contribute at any time. Cunningham, who comes
to Vanderbilt via Durham, N.C., was twice named all-state,
region and district. During his senior season alone, he registered
an amazing 13 shutouts for Durham Academy.
If this year's team wants to get back on the winning track,
it will have to endure a difficult schedule. While playing
in one of the most difficult conferences in the country -
Missouri Valley Conference - the Commodores will take on several
formidable non-conference foes.
This year's non-conference schedule
is highlighted by the Vanderbilt Tournament, in which the
Commodores will take on two teams from opposite ends of the
country. Vanderbilt will take on Southern Conference's Appalachian
State in its first game, which then will be followed by a
match-up with the Western Athletic Conference's Loyola Marymount.
The Commodores will hit the road following their tournament
to take on Ivy League powers Yale and Brown, who finished
first in the conference in 2001, in the Yale Tournament in
New Haven, Conn. Other non-conference games include Alabama
A&M, Belmont, Lipscomb and Memphis.
Following a 3-6 mark and a seventh-place
finish last season in the MVC, Vanderbilt will look to catapult
its way back up to the top of the conference. Of their nine
conference regular-season games, five will be held the Commodores
new 2,400-seat stadium. Bradley, Eastern Illinois, Southwest
Missouri State, Evansville and Western Kentucky will be Vanderbilt's
home opponents. The Commodores will hit a difficult stretch
towards the later part of the schedule, when they play four-consecutive
conference road games. Heading this list is coach McClements
former school, Southern Methodist. SMU started the 2001 season
off 21-0 before falling to St. John's in the NCAA Tournament.
MVC powers Creighton, Tulsa and Drake round out Vanderbilt's
"I am excited to kick off the
2002 season in one of the finest facilities in the country,"
McClements says. "We face several difficult non-conference
opponents in the first half of the season. This will be a
strong test for our team and will help us prepare for our
Missouri Valley Conference matches. It is important that we
continually seek to raise our level of play as we prepare
for the postseason MVC and NCAA Tournaments."