Hampden-Sydney soccer looks to build on success
Published 9:06 am Thursday, September 7, 2023
Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) will look to build on the success of last season and challenge to be one of the best teams in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The Tigers went 9-7-3 overall and 3-5-2 in the ODAC to finish eighth in the conference. An upset of top-seeded Lynchburg propelled the Tigers to the ODAC semifinal before being bested by Roanoke. H-SC has been picked fifth in the ODAC Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll.
Head Coach Tommy DiNuzzo starts his seventh year at the helm for the Tigers. He returns 22 lettermen among the 33-man roster. DiNuzzo is the fourth-winningest coach in program history after six seasons boasting a 52-36-10 record and a 30-19-5 record in the ODAC.
Coach DiNuzzo is joined on staff by first-year assistant coaches, Andrew Longhurst and Yugo Suzuki.
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“We are looking forward to playing a very difficult out-of-conference schedule and ultimately getting into ODAC play,” said DiNuzzo. “Our current group of players has been working hard and we believe our potential is very high.”
The Tigers bring back three of their top-four scoring forwards from the 2022 season, in fifth-year Michael Ogenyi, senior Emory Davis, and sophomore Pierce Boerner. Ogenyi and Davis scored three goals apiece while Boerner found the back of the net twice. Ogenyi and Boerner played in all 19 games for the Tigers and Davis played in 11 games.
Returning depth will come from sophomore Charlie Letson, sophomore Drew Miller and senior Aidan Willard. Letson and Miller both played 14 games, with Letson making 13 starts and each tallied one assist. Willard played in five games last season.
Freshman Mo Wumpini is the one newcomer to the Tigers attack and will look to make an instant impact on the team.
H-SC will look to replace the production it lost in the midfield this season and will start with returning starter and Second Team All-ODAC performer senior Declan Shaw. Shaw played in 17 games, starting 16 while scoring four goals and tallying three assists. The senior will be a key piece in the success of H-SC, impacting the game in the middle of the field. Along with Shaw, senior John Alexander is a returning starter from the midfield, playing in 18 games while starting 13, scoring three goals and adding one assist. They will be relied on to provide leadership to what is a young midfield.
Returners who will look to also provide an impact in the midfield include sophomores Michael Farmer, Mason Forrest, Landon Niday and Victor Ovalle-Mares. Farmer played in all 19 games last season, starting eight and scoring one goal. Niday played in 12 games scoring two goals, while Ovalle-Mares played in five games in 2022.
The Tigers bring in five newcomers to fill out the midfield and compete for places. Transfer sophomore Logan Wipperfurth comes in from Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina. Sophomore Jaques Lavielle joins after spending a year as a student at North Carolina State University. Freshmen Tyler Petz, Ka’eo Gonsalves and Kaden Sawyer will all look to earn their place in the rotation.
H-SC brings back all but one defender from the previous season and will look to have a strong backline in 2023. Senior Stefan Ngoh will look to have another strong season.
The Third Team All-ODAC defender scored three goals and added a team-high four assists. He will be joined on the backline by senior Ben Beason, junior Justin Varela, and seniors Ethan Farmer, and Jackson Burkhart. Varela played in all 19 games, starting 12, while scoring a goal and adding an assist. Beason, Farmer, and Burkhart all played in 15 games in 2022, with Beason starting 13 and scoring two goals, Farmer starting 14 and tallying two assists, and Burkhart starting five while adding three assists.
Sophomore Uriel Aguirre (Woodbridge) will look to take a bigger role this season after playing in two games in 2022.
Freshmen Jason Trujillo, Caden Smith, Daniel Golonka, and Mauricio Jimenez will look to work their way onto the team and add to what is already a talented defensive unit.
The Tigers have a good dilemma at the goalkeeper position, having two very talented options battling for the number one spot. Junior Connor Kitson got most of the game action last season, playing in 14 games, starting 13 of them, posting a 7-4-1 record with two shutouts. Junior Wills Huddleston saw action late in the year and was the starter in both ODAC tournament games, playing in seven games while starting six of them, posting a 2-3-1 record with three shutouts.
Sophomore Garrett Hodges will look to get more game time this season behind Kitson and Huddleston after he played in one game last season and made two saves. Freshman Daniel Beb will look to impress at a crowded goalkeeper position.
There is an air of confidence among the coaching staff and players for 2023. The Tigers go on the road with a game Friday at Mary Baldwin. The regular season includes a 10-game ODAC slate and will conclude with a road contest at Eastern Mennonite University at 7 p.m. on October 24.