Maroon 2022 Season Preview: New Faces, Preseason, and Regional Qualifier
*Photo credit Sam Rode
Welcome back Gopher fans! After a long offseason, Minnesota soccer is back. A high amount of turnover means lots of talented new faces in the Maroon squad this year. Here are the newcomers!
Blake Brettschneider - Senior - Goalkeeper
Commanding and quick off his line, the sweeper keeper joins an impressive goalkeeping core.
Carter Lessard - Freshman - Midfielder
Lessard is a clever attacking midfielder who provides good creativity.
Charlie Nazarian - Senior - Outside back
Nazarian provides good pace, tough defending, and a willingness to contribute to the attack from outside back.
Donovan Draghicchio - Freshman - Winger
Donovan brings a versatile skill set out wide, able to run at players with the ball and cause trouble with his movement in behind.
Henry Elias - Freshman - Winger
Elias provides great ability out wide combined with a nose for goals.
Michael Porter - Senior - Midfielder
A classic center midfielder, Porter brings defensive solidity and organization to the center of midfield.
Nathan Collins - Freshman - Outside back
Collins provides a rock-solid defensive ability down the flank.
Olly Crowell - Freshman - Center back
Crowell is one of two additions at center back. He provides a steady defensive presence and command of the backline.
Reece Clifford - Junior - Midfielder
Clifford sets the tempo of play with his high level of distribution in the middle of the park.
Sebastian Moreno - Sophomore - Midfielder
Moreno provides great composure on the ball as well as versatility; as he can play either outside back slot equally as well as midfield.
Timothy Persons - Freshman - Striker
Persons provides great pace and aggressiveness in attack. Never afraid to run at defenders and cause trouble.
Will Staib - Senior - Center back
Staib provides great on-ball ability and passing range to the backline, as well as being a stout defender.
With these new faces in tow, Maroon looked towards a tough preseason, facing against St. Olaf college reserves, Hamline University’s varsity, Gustavus Adolphus’ reserves, and Augsburg varsity.
Maroon vs. St. Olaf
Maroon kicked off their preseason in Northfield against a talented St. Olaf side. Maroon got off to a fantastic start, as they pulled ahead with a goal from Ziegert (who has since been called up to the Gold squad). Maroon kept their tempo up and found another tally from Junior midfielder Will Collins. St. Olaf did manage to pull one goal back late but Maroon ran out as 2-1 winners in a promising performance.
Maroon vs. Hamline
The next day, Maroon faced up to a MIAC varsity side in Hamline University. Perhaps feeling the effects of playing a game only 24 hours earlier, Maroon got off to a bit of a slow start. Hamline was able to take advantage and created a well-taken goal. Maroon wasn’t able to muster a response before the final whistle, ending in a 1-0 loss for the Gophers.
Maroon vs. Gustavus Adolphus
Maroon next took on the reserves of Gustavus Adolphus in what was another stern test. Maroon played the game tight, both sides looking likely to find the breakthrough. It took until about 20 minutes left in the game before Gustavus found their chance and took it to go up 1-0. They pulled another one off a couple minutes later, making a difficult road back for Maroon with little time left. Minnesota was able to pull one back late but the final whistle blew at a 2-1 scoreline favoring the Gusties.
Maroon vs. Augsburg
The Maroon squad faced another skilled opponent in Augsburg University varsity. The Auggies showed their quality as they were able to put 5 goals away in the course of the game. The Gopher offense was able to put 2 past the Augsburg backline, but in the end Augsburg’s offense proved too much on the day and the final scoreline finished at 5-2.
Maroon vs. St. Thomas
Their next test being a league opponent in St. Thomas, the Gophers knew they would have to bounce back. They started the game well, controlling the tempo of the game, and limiting St. Thomas’ opportunities to minimal threats. As the game got into the second half, St. Thomas began to find more of a foothold in the game, and they were able to win a foul inside the box and convert the subsequent penalty. Maroon responded well, stabilizing the backline and pushing forward in search of an equalizer. It finally came from the feet of Henry Elias, who was quickest to react following a dangerous corner put in by Lessard. The match ended in a 1-1 stalemate, but with Minnesota knowing they ultimately matched up well with St. Thomas.
The Maroon squad travels down to Iowa this weekend to take on group A, pitting them against Iowa State, St. Thomas, and Drake. After qualifying through the group in second last year, their aim is to top it this year. Stay tuned to our socials for updates!
Ski U Mah!