MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer plans to continue their upward trend in the programs third year of competition. After more wins and an increased win percentage in 2017, Head Coach David Poggi expects his team to continue making strides in 2018.
"For us, a successful season will be winning more games than we lose," Poggi said of his goals for the third-year program. "We are at a point right now where we have a great base of experience."
The Wildcats advanced into postseason play for the first time in program history a season ago, making an appearance in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The team also earned their first postseason victory with a defeat of Tiffin in the opening round.
Much of that team is set to return after losing no players to graduation. The 2018 squad will have the program's first graduating class with seniors Kevin Hoof (Grove, Minnesota), Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan), Nic Harenda (Waukesha, Wisconsin), and Carson Burmeister (Grayling, Michigan) finishing their collegiate careers.
"They are the base that we have built on," Poggi said of his four seniors. "They are going into their third season here after coming in as transfers. They are definitely going to be the spine of this team for the year."
Popp will be the Wildcats' top returning offensive weapon after leading the team in goals, assists, and points a season ago. He appeared in all 19 contests en route to six goals and 15 total points.
"Sam is a really strong player for us; he's a leader," Poggi said of the team's leading scorer from a season ago. "He was a little handcuffed with all of the responsibility last year […] Hopefully, with some new players and experience, we will be in a position to have a more balanced attack."
Hoof was also a scoring threat for NMU recording a pair of goals. Five other Wildcats who scored a goal last season will also return to the 2018 roster. Sophomore forward Ben Hoffman (Petosky, Michigan) will also return after missing nearly all of the 2017 year due to injury. As a freshman, he finished second on the team with nine points on three goals and three assists.
Despite losing few players, NMU will add 10 newcomers to the roster in the hopes of adding depth. A mixture of the returning upperclassmen mixed with the strong incoming class is another sign of the strides that Poggi and the Men's Soccer Program have made in three short years.
"With our first graduating class getting here and eventually moving on, it was really important that we become deeper this year," Poggi said of his incoming class. "We have players coming in with different levels of experience that we might not have been able to recruit in our first and second year."
A complete interviw with the four seniors can be seen by clicking HERE.