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Men's Soccer
(Photo Credit: Trevor Mahoney)
(Photo Credit: Trevor Mahoney)
Men's soccer season preview
WATERLOO, Ont. (September 2, 2011) - One season since bowing out to the York Lions in the OUA playoffs, the Wilfrid Laurier men's soccer team has reloaded with a young and talented squad that has the ability to be a contender in the OUA in 2011.

Head Coach MARIO HALAPIR has returned 14 players from last year's team but the story entering the season is the young talented that the Golden Hawks head coach has brought in. 13 players on the opening day roster haven't played a game at the university level before but many of them showed in camp that they have the ability to play and contribute in the OUA.

This year's team will lean heavily on three veteran players including fifth year forward Spencer Cawker of Mississauga, Ont., fourth year midfielder Hugo Hernandez of Markham, Ont., and fourth year defender Christopher Walker, also of Mississauga, Ont. The three players represent the only Hawks who have three or more years experience in the OUA and they will be looked upon to provide leadership for the youth on the team.

Cawker will headline a group of talented strikers up front for the purple and gold. Joining him will be returning sophomores Sandro Stojakovic of Waterloo, Ont., and Alejandro Diaz-Loyola of Mexico City, Mexico. Last season, Stojakovic tied for the team lead in scoring with five goals while Diaz-Loyola found the back of the net once in his rookie campaign. One rookie to keep an eye on up front is Cameron Stephan of Brantford, Ont., who demonstrated during training camp the ability to find the back of the net.

In the midfield, Hernandez will be joined by fellow returning players Donald Chmura of Waterloo, Ont., David Corazzola of Woodbridge, Ont., and Eric Stainton of Markham, Ont. Last year, that group of players combined for seven of Laurier's 24 goals and will once again be an important part of the team's offence in 2011. Chmura was especially effect on the offensive side of the ball, notching three goals as a rookie to finish third in team scoring.

Defensively, Walker is joined by just one returning player, that being Trevor Schein of Brantford, Ont. With that in mind, Coach Halapir will look to a group of rookies that includes Bashir Hamis of Burlington, Ont., Stephen Reel of Aurora, Ont., Mark Rossi of Waterloo, Ont., and Micahel Warden of Oakville, Ont., to step up this season to continue the team's strong defensive play from a year ago.

In net, returning keeper Martyn Hooker of Brantford, Ont., appears to be the favourite to start again this year but he will be pushed all season by two rookies, Liam Bracken of Thornhill, Ont., and Brett Harrington of Tillsonburg, Ont.

The Hawks will open their season tomorrow afternoon when they host the Lions in a rematch of last year's OUA Quarter-final. Game time is set for 3:15pm at Alumni Field.

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