Tabor men?s soccer generating high expectations this fall

These seniors will provide leadership for the Tabor College men?s soccer team: (from left) Alberto Checa, Zane Klein, Philipp Wahl, Ryan Jorgenson. Expectations are high for the Tabor College men?s soccer team this year. Having suffered season-ending losses in the KCAC tournament finals the past two years, the Bluejays and eighth-year coach Grant Brubacher are looking to change that trend.

Tabor was 13-6-2 last season and 5-2-2 in conference play, placing them third in the KCAC behind eventual tournament champion Kan?sas Wesleyan and McPher?son.

To find success this year, it will be important to fill the void left by two first-team All-KCAC selections from 2013: defender Adam Morley, who was named Defensive Player of the Year; and midfielder Marian Saar.

?We?ve been working hard since last spring to have the best team attitude we can,? Brubacher said. ?Obviously, we lost some very important players.

?Marian?s one of our all-time point-getters at Tabor, and Adam had a great season last year, so it?ll be hard to replace them individually. But we have worked hard at understanding our roles and having great commitment from everyone to combat their loss.?

Returning to anchor the team are three All-KCAC forwards: first-team pick and 2014 preseason selection Bransyn Felty, a sophomore; second-team selection Philipp Wahl, a senior; and honorable mention honoree Alberto Checa, a senior.

Midfielders Jose Lopez, a junior, and Michel Herzen?haut, a sophomore, also return.

?We also have some young defenders from last year that have come a long ways, and we?re looking for them to step into more key roles this year,? Brubacher said.

The Bluejays also will rely on some newcomers.

Transfer Dominique Mays, a junior defender, is expected to play a key role, and Brubacher also expects some newcomers to contribute in the midfield.

Tabor?s goalkeeper is still to be determined.

?Definitely going to see somebody new at the goalkeeper position,? Brubacher said. ?We have some young players who are competing with our returners there.?

Having ended the past two seasons with losses in the KCAC tournament final, this year?s team is looking to win it this year.

?That?s definitely a goal of ours, to win that tournament,? Brubacher said. ?We?re working on team chemistry, team attitude, trying to give ourselves every opportunity to have the right mentality in order to overcome that hurdle. So far, I?m very encouraged with what I see.

?I like our work ethic,? he added. ?I like the commitment to what we?re trying to accomplish tactically, and we?re really positive about our chances to make another run at it again this year.?

Tabor was picked third in the KCAC coaches? poll behind McPherson and Kan?sas Wesleyan. Brubacher expects the Bluejays to be competitive this season.

?Expectations are high this year after making it to the KCAC championship game the last two years,? he said. ?We do have a lot of new faces, and so there will be some challenges there, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But our expectations are to compete at the top of the conference and to give ourselves every opportunity to qualify for the national playoffs.?

Tabor was scheduled to open the season Friday and will host Avila Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Conference action will begin Oct. 4 when the Blue?jays travel to the University of Saint Mary for an 8 p.m. contest.

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