Men's Soccer Reports for Preseason
In his eighth season at the helm of the men's soccer program, head coach Tom Poitras brings back 16 returners, including 10 upperclassmen and six underclassmen that made significant impacts on the Hawks' 2017 season. Highlighting the offense for the Hawks is Rasmus Karlsson, who is fresh off of an America East All-Rookie campaign. He tallied five points as a freshman after contributing a pair of goals and adding an assist in 17 appearances. Also returning for the Hawks' offense is sophomore forward Nyrik Antoine and junior midfielder Fredrik Ekman, who each made notable impacts on the field in 2017. Antoine scored a pair of goals for four points on the season, while Ekman tallied three points on the season, including the game-winning goal against Marist. The defense will see the return of junior back Kelechi Akujobi and redshirt-junior midfielder/back Michael Balzan. Both players contributed to each of the team's three shutouts in 2017. Akujobi also scored a game-winning goal against Northeastern, while Balzan tallied two points on a pair of assists, including one on the game-winner against Marist. Also returning for the 2018 season is junior goalkeeper Jimmy Slayton, who started all 18 games in 2017 and led the America East with 67 saves. He tallied a 1.22 goals-against average and .753 save percentage. In addition, Poitras brings on a group of 12 newcomers who will be making their Hartford debuts this month, including forward Kamer Nuhiu, midfielders William Koper, Tomer Drimmer, Sergi Martinez and Jordan Koduah, backs Connor Aksoz, Nicholas Benjamin, Marc Alexander and Aly Mohamed and goalkeeper Evan Daddona. Also joining the Hawks will be junior goalkeeper Roandre Wollery and sophomore forward Jovanté Etienne. Wollery transferred to Hartford after playing two years of soccer at Herkimer Community College while Etienne played at the University of Bridgeport for one year, where he led the team in scoring. The new season will bring the Hawks to Wisconsin for a pair of matches. The first stop will land Hartford at UW-Green Bay on Friday, Aug. 24. Prior to coming to Hartford in 2011, Poitras spent the previous seven as head coach in Green Bay, where he ended a 26-year NCAA Tournament drought for the Phoenix in 2009. Three days later, the Hawks will face the reigning Big Ten Champion, Wisconsin on Aug. 27, before they return to West Hartford for their home opener against St. Bonaventure. First kick from Al-Marzook Field is slated for Aug. 31, at 7 p.m.
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