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St. Joseph’s look to veteran core for rebound season

Previewing the St. Joseph’s men’s soccer season

SJU Athletics

Record in 2015: 4-12-2, 2-5-1 in Atlantic 10
Head Coach: Don D’Ambria (Seventh Year)
Key Losses: Emmanuel Temmeh, Tim Lazorko
Key Returners: Matt Crawford, Bliss Harris, Eric Jordan, Derek MacKinnon, Sam Irvin, Bobby Edwards, Eddie McCusker, Mori Diane
Key Additions: Midfielder Ramzi Saim, forward Daryus Lake and transfer Ryan Beebe (Rutgers)
MLS Academy Players: None
Key Matches: Villanova (Sept. 20), VCU away (Oct. 19), La Salle (Oct. 29)

Coming off a year with only four wins, the St. Joe’s Hawks will aim to get back closer to the .500 mark they finished in 2014 with a deeper and more experienced team for seventh-year head coach Don D’Ambria.

The Hawks only losses from last year’s squad were Emmanuel Temmeh and Tim Lazorko, but they are big boots to fill since the duo were first and second in the team in scoring and accounted for nearly half of the teams goals in 2015.

Washington Township High School grad Derek MacKinnon (1 goal, 2 assists), one of four from the South Jersey power on the squad, along with Matt Crawford (3 goals) and Mori Diane (2 goals), are the top returning scorers left from last season. Senior midfielders Sam Irvin and Eric Jordan, another Washington Township grad, bring a wealth of experience to the midfield.

Newcomers like Ramzi Saim, forward Daryus Lake, who is related to Union defender Raymon Gaddis, and Rutgers transfer Ryan Beebe will also look to contribute on the offensive end while Bliss Harris will provide leadership to the team on both sides of the field from his center back position.

Harris was the team’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year last season, but the back line as a whole struggled, conceding three or more goals in 10 of their 16 games for a total of 39 goals conceded on the year. D’Ambria has a number of options to choose for his back line, including Washington Township grad Eddie McCusker (second only to Harris in minutes played for defenders last year as a freshman), seniors Mike Stuski and Ted Foley and juniors Kevin Lockhart, Ben Zambetti and Tom Santilli.

The Hawks open their season on the road Sunday in a derby match against Temple at 2 p.m.