Men's Soccer News - 2012-13
Kraciun named to Academic All-America First
Nov. 26, 2012
Kraciun (right) was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America College
Division Men's Soccer First Team today. He advanced to the national ballot after
earning all-district honors earlier this month.
The teams are comprised of student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian and two-year
institutions and are selected by the College Sports Information Directors of
America (CoSIDA) based on the students' work on the field and in the classroom.
Kraciun, from Bettendorf, Iowa, is majoring in Biology at St. Ambrose after
recently completing his senior season for the Fighting Bee soccer team.
The first team all-conference pick helped St. Ambrose to a 10-6-2 record. He
shared the team lead with 11 goals and led the Midwest Collegiate Conference
with eight assists. His 30 points was also the top mark in the conference.
Kraciun was one of two SAU soccer players recognized by CoSIDA. Queen Bee
sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Lynn was named to the Capital One Academic
All-America Third Team.
Kraciun first team, three others honorable mention
Nov. 9, 2012
by Brent Beerends
winning six more matches than last year, St. Ambrose had four selections on the
all-Midwest Collegiate Conference Menís Soccer Team, announced by the conference
today. The Bees had one first-team selection in Matt Kraciun and three players
receive honorable mention - Charlie MacInnes, Tirelo Morake and Jared Winking.
It is the most all-conference selections for the Bees since the 2008 team had
eight all-MCC picks.
Kraciun (above), a senior midfielder from Bettendorf, Iowa, was the lone
selection to the first team after receiving all-MCC honorable mention in 2011.
Kraciun led the Bees with eight assists and shared the team lead with 11 goals
on the year. He helped fuel the menís offense attack that scored a total of 45
goals on the season compared to just 18 a year ago. Four of his goals were game
MacInnes (below left), a sophomore forward from Liverpool, England, also
posted 11 goals on the year in his first season with the Bees. He posted three
game-winning goals and added five assists.
Morake (below middle), a senior midfielder from Botswana, was second on the
team with six assists and scored five goals. His speed helped open up lanes for
his fellow Bees and allowed for the increase in goals from 2011 to 2012.
Winking (below right), a senior defender from Quincy, Ill., earned
all-conference honorable mention for the second straight year. He was a
defensive staple for the Bees that posted four shutouts. From his defensive
position, Winking added two goals and two assists.
St. Ambrose finished the season 10-6-2 overall and third in the MCC with a
3-2-1 conference mark.
SAU's season ends in shootout to William Penn
Oct. 28, 2012
Ashford box score |
St. Ambrose box score
by Brent Beerends
The St. Ambrose menís soccer team faced a tough road test against No. 18
Ashford (11-2-3) before hosting William Penn (8-10-1) in the first round of the
Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament. The Bees had a less-than-successful
week, losing 5-0 against Ashford and were knocked out of the conference
tournament in a penalty-kick shootout to William Penn.
In the match against Ashford, the Bees had no luck finding the back of the
net and the offense could only managing four shots compared to Ashfordís 19.
Ashford scored their first goal in the 15th minute and the Beesí defense held
strong keeping the score 1-0 into halftime.
The second half was a different story as the Saints rattled off four more
goals in the next 23 minutes.
The Bees finished the regular season with an overall record of 10-6-1, and
3-2-1 in the MCC. The Bees finished third in the MCC and hosted William Penn for
the first round of the conference tournament Saturday.
Unlike the match against Ashford, the offense came to life out shooting
William Penn 25-9.
The Statesmen did not need that many shots to find the back of the net,
scoring in the seventh minute putting the Bees behind early.
As the first half ended 1-0, the Bees regrouped and held strong not allowing
another goal. In the 87th minute Tyler Clark (right) provided the lone goal after
receiving a pass from Charlie MacInnes, keeping the Beesí season alive.
The match went through two overtimes, resulting in penalty kicks to determine
who advances on to the semifinals of the MCC Tournament.
St. Ambrose made the first three penalty kick goals while William Penn only
made two of three. The fourth penalty kick was the first the Bees missed and
provided a chance for William Penn to get back to even, and the Statesmen took
advantage of the opportunity.
The season came down to one kick from both teams. SAU's shot was saved and
William Penn put their shot past the goalkeeper ending the Bees' season with an
overall record of 10-6-2.
A special thanks to Matt Kraciun, Jared Winking, Tirelo Morake, Chris
Davisson, Andrew Strickland, and Matt Tucker for their commitment to the St.
Ambrose menís soccer team. These seniors have battled through some tough times
and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
SAU hosts William Penn in MCC Tournament first round
Oct. 22, 2012
With its third-place finish during the regular season, St. Ambrose will host
at least one game of the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament.
The Bees (10-5-1, 3-2-1 MCC) will open play by hosting William Penn Sunday at
1 p.m. at the Davenport Soccer Complex.
The Statesmen are currently 7-10 overall and finished 2-4 in MCC play but
defeated St. Ambrose 1-0 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, back on Oct. 6.
Grand View won the regular season conference crown and will receive a first
round bye in the league tournament. Second-seed Mount Mercy will host Viterbo
and fourth-seed Clarke will host AIB in the other first round games.
SAU has one regular season match remaining, a 7 p.m. game at Ashford
St. Ambrose finishes third in Midwest Collegiate
Oct. 21, 2012
Jamestown box score |
Viterbo box score
by Brent Beerends
Ambrose menís soccer team split its two games this week with a 4-1 conference
win over Viterbo and a 1-0 loss to Jamestown. The Bees (10-5-1, 3-2-1) finished
third in the Midwest Collegiate Conference with Saturday's win over Viterbo.
The first game of the week brought Jamestown College down on Tuesday. It did
not take long for Jamestown to find the back of the net after only four minutes
Jamestown took the early lead.
The Bees had their hands full as Jamestown took 19 shots to the Bees 7, but
SAU held its own against the 12-2 squad. Caleb Becsi (right) made some great
saves and helped keep the score close but St. Ambrose could not get the
The Beesí second game of the week had a different atmosphere as they looked
to get into third with an MCC win over Viterbo.
Charlie MacInnes added the first goal of the game in the 21st minute
unassisted after some skillful footwork. After the first goal neither team had
much success in finding the back of the net until the match was almost over.
(right) made a great strike that was stopped by the Viterbo goalkeeper only to
grab the rebound and put it in for the score at the 83rd minute.
In the 87th minute MacInnes swiftly put the ball into the box allowing Matt
Kraciun to provide a header placing the Bees up 3-0.
After some quick passing by Viterbo, the V-Hawks were able to score their
only match of the contest in the 87th minute as well.
Not to be left out, Tyler Clark added a goal with five seconds left after
getting another masterful pass from MacInnes.
The Bees finish conference play 3-2-1 and in third place, but have one more
game against Ashford on Wednesday before starting conference tournament play.
SAU will host William Penn in an opening round game Sunday, Oct. 28.
A Senior's Commitment equals Bees' Success
Oct. 19, 2012
by Brent Beerends
College is a place for changes, new adventures, and for athletes, hopefully
victories along the way. Each day something new may change the landscape of what
college has in store for a student. For the likes of, Matt Kraciun (right), life at St.
Ambrose has provided him many opportunities but on the soccer field, few
victories, until 2012.
In 2008, the menís soccer team was just finishing up a 14-6-1 season that ended
in the NAIA National Tournament. That same year Kraciun, then a senior at
Bettendorf High, decided to
attend St. Ambrose the next year to play for Father Bud Grant. He was a member
of a recruiting class that also included Jared Winking and Andrew Strickland.
Knowing they were going to be a part of a rebuilding process, the three
never could have expected what was going to happen.
The first year, Kraciun saw playing time as a midfielder for the varsity squad
and was a part of a team that went 4-15-1.
"I assumed that we would have some ups and downs after losing a lot of the
seniors from the national tournament team, but thought we would win more games
than we did. I realized how difficult winning was at the collegiate level," Kraciun said.
Losing is something that players learn to cope with and it makes the victories
so much sweeter. After the 2009 season the St. Ambrose menís soccer team was
dealt another blow in the rebuilding process, when Father Bud decided to retire
After a disappointing freshman season, Kraciun had a decision to make. Does he
stay knowing he would be getting a new coach coming off a four-win season?
Kraciun, along with Winking and Strickland from that 2009 recruiting class,
decided to make that commitment and face the unknown. No matter the result, they
wanted to stay faithful to the Fighting Bees.
Who would Athletic Director Ray Shovlain hire? After some deliberation,
decided to keep the hire in-house by putting then-SAU women's head coach Jon Mannall also in charge of the menís program. Mannall understood the legacy that
Father Bud left and the commitment that all of his current players had made.
"When I heard Jon would be taking over the program, I knew that he had done a
great job with the women's team and had a lot of success," Kraciun said.
In 2010 with Mannall at the helm, the Fighting Bees finished with a record of
6-10-3, slightly better than the year before.
It seemed like the fortune was changing for the Bees, and they were going to
make another leap in 2011.
But 2011 was not what anyone had in store as the Bees faced some offensive
struggles, only scoring a total of 18 goals. SAU finished with a record of
One of the few bright spots from the 2011 season was that Kraciun led the team
with six goals in his junior season.
Now forward to today. The Bees had a streak of nine games without a loss, the
longest streak since a 10-game unbeaten streak in 2007. The 2007 Bees finished
15-6-2, a mark the current Bees have a chance to match.
What has pushed the team to such success?
Much of that success should be credited to Kraciun. He has continued to develop
his offensive ability as he leads the Bees with 10 goals and eight assists.
On the other side of the ball, Winking has become one of the best defenders in
the conference. He has been named the conference player of the week twice.
As their senior season is halfway over, Kraciun and Winking have left a lasting
impression on the menís soccer program.
"Off the field they have committed themselves and led their teammates through
the changes that we have implemented, and now that leadership is showing on the
field with success as well," Mannall stated.
The leadership that Kraciun and Winking have displayed comes with a new
challenge. The 2012 Bees have many new players, both international and transfer
"For a team that has a lot of new faces, we have all become good friends in a
short amount of time and that chemistry has helped us to win games," Kraciun
In all, the 2012 roster features 13 international players and 12 total freshmen.
Charlie MacInnes, from Liverpool, England, has complemented Kraciun by scoring
nine goals this year.
Tyler Clark, from Washington, Illinois, transferred to St. Ambrose and has also
played a part in helping the Beesí offensive attack thrive.
Starting alongside Winking on defense is Luke Ridgway, from St. Leonards,
If not for the dedication of Kraciun, Winking, and Strickland there is no
telling how the Bees would have been this year. Their passion for the game of
soccer along with Mannall's ability to rebuild the program have helped return
the Bees to their past national tournament form.
With the regular season winding down, the focus turns to the Midwest Collegiate
Conference Tournament. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NAIA National
Tournament, which would be a fitting end to the career of Matt Kraciun.
St. Ambrose splits two matches last week
Oct. 14, 2012
Mount Mercy box score |
AIB box score
by Brent Beerends
The St. Ambrose menís soccer team split its two games this week with a win
over Mount Mercy 1-0 and a loss to AIB 3-2. The Bees (9-4-1, 2-2-1) are
currently in fourth in the Midwest Collegiate Conference with just one
conference match remaining on the schedule.
Bees hosted Mount Mercy on Wednesday in a windy contest that saw little offense.
Both sides took 14 shots apiece but only one shot found the back of the net.
In the 53rd minute, Matt Kraciun (left) added to his team lead in goals after
receiving a pass from fellow senior Jared Winking. Kraciun has 10 goals this
Caleb Becsi (right) made some incredible saves as the Bees posted their
fourth shutout of the season and their second in the MCC.
The second game of the week saw the Bees travel to AIB for a game that was
supposed to be played on Saturday but was rained out until Sunday afternoon.
The match started off with a quick exchange of goals as AIB put the first
goal in at the 16th minute and SAU's Tirelo Morake tied the score in the 18th.
AIB did not take long to jump out to another lead. A corner kick led to a second
goal slipping by Besci.
AIB added another goal in the 63rd minute to push the score to 3-1. The Bees
answered as Charlie MacInnes added his first goal of the week in the 68th
minute. As the clock slowly ran out the Bees could not tie up the score adding
their second loss in the MCC.
The Bees will host Jamestown College on Oct. 16 for a non-MCC contest before
playing their last MCC opponent Viterbo on Oct. 20 at the Davenport Soccer
SAU's unbeaten streak ends at nine games
Oct. 7, 2012
Clarke box score |
William Penn box score
by Brent Beerends
The St. Ambrose menís soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to nine games
with a 1-0 victory against Clarke, before seeing it end against William Penn
with a 1-0 defeat.
Fighting Bees traveled to Clarke Wednesday attempting to get their first Midwest
Collegiate Conference win. The match started in favor of Clarke as they out shot
the Bees 5-2, but neither side could put the ball into the back of the net.
Caleb Becsi played skillfully in stopping the Clarke attack and was added by the
play of Luke Ridgway (right).
In the 56th minute Charlie MacInnes got the only goal SAU would need on a
penalty kick to put the Bees ahead. The defense held strong giving the Bees
their first conference win.
The second match of the week took place on Saturday as the Bees traveled to
play in less than optimal weather against William Penn. Much like the match
against Clarke, William Penn took to an offensive attack. The Statesmen outshot
the Bees 18-7 and were able to find the back of the net in the 51st minute.
The Bees attempted to even the score forcing William Penn to defend but there
was no luck as the SAU saw its nine-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
The Bees are now 8-3-1 and 1-1-1 in MCC play, and will host Mount Mercy
Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Winking collects second player of the week honor
Oct. 1, 2012
helping St. Ambrose allow just one goal each to rivals Augustana and Grand View,
Jared Winking (right) was named the Midwest Collegiate Conference Men's Soccer
Defensive Player of the Week today. It is the second time this year Winking has
won the conference honor.
The senior defender from Quincy, Ill., was instrumental in both games last
week as St. Ambrose extended its unbeaten streak to eight games.
He led the SAU defense in limiting Augustana to a single goal in a 2-1
victory and then helped shut down MCC preseason favorite Grand View in a 1-1
overtime tie. GVU managed just five total shots on goal against the Bees.
Winking has been a major reason why the Bees are allowing just 1.15 goals per
match through a 7-2-1 start this season. Offensively, he has chipped in with two
goals and an assist.
SAU will play a pair of road matches this week, visiting Clarke Wednesday at
5 p.m. before playing at William Penn Saturday at 7 p.m.
Unbeaten streak reaches eight games for Bees
Sept. 30, 2012
Augustana box score |
Grand View box score
by Brent Beerends
Ambrose menís soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to eight games after
defeating Augustana 2-1 Wednesday and getting a 1-1 tie against Grand View to
open Midwest Collegiate Conference play Saturday. After starting the season 0-2,
the Bees are now 7-2-1 overall and 0-0-1 in MCC play.
The atmosphere of Wednesday's match against cross-river rival Augustana was
tense throughout and led to a total of seven yellow cards, three from St.
Ambrose and four from Augustana. After a rough hit from the Augustana
goalkeeper, Charlie MacInnes (right) had the first chance to score for the Bees
being rewarded a penalty kick. On the PK, MacInnes drove the ball into the
bottom left corner putting the Bees up 1-0.
The Fighting Bees led the match until Augustana put the game-tying goal in
the net in the 30th minute. The half ended with the score tied at one goal
apiece, but the Bees did not take long to add the go-ahead goal.
MacInnes put his second goal into the back of the net after receiving a great
pass into the box from Matt Kraciun. The Bees held strong after a late flurry of
shots by the Vikings to win 2-1.
Homecoming Weekend, the Bees started MCC play by hosting defending conference
champion Grand View. The Bees started where they left off Wednesday out-shooting
Grand View 17-11. The match was going into half with both teams scoreless when
GVU placed a corner into the box leading to an own goal by St. Ambrose.
As the half ended, Grand View held a 1-0 lead and the Bees' winning streak
was in danger. Kraciun (left) led the Bees' offensive attack, adding the game
tying goal in the 74th minute after receiving a pass from Drew Rimmer (right).
Caleb Becsi and the defense held strong forcing the game to double overtime
and a 1-1 tie.
The Bees have not lost for over a month, dating back to a loss to Judson on
The Bees will continue MCC play as they travel to Clarke on Wednesday before
visiting William Penn Saturday.
St. Ambrose keeps rolling with two more wins
Sept. 23, 2012
Rockford box score |
Eureka box score
by Brent Beerends
Fighting Bees had started the year off with two losses against Taylor and
Judson, but have rebounded with six straight wins following victories over
Rockford and Eureka this week.
St. Ambrose played their first game of the week against Rockford on Sept. 20.
The Bees took no time putting the first goal in the netting as Charlie MacInnes
received a pass from Matt Kraciun to start the scoring frenzy. Rob Prior (left)
added the second goal of the match in the 15th minute after some skillful
passing from Chris Davisson. Drew Rimmer (right) would add two assists on the
next two goals as Robert Landman scored at the 30th minute and Tyler Clark in
Clark added his second goal of the day four minutes later and attempted to
add his third but hit the crossbar. Kraciun was there for the rebound for his
first of the day and added his second after receiving a pass from Tirelo Morake.
With the score now 7-0 the Bees the match was out of reach but Rimmer would
take the opportunity to add his first goal of the day in the 66th minute. The
Bees out-shot Rockford 28-4 and Caleb Becsi needed to make just one save to get
SAU's first shutout of the year.
second game of the week took place Sunday against NCAA Division III Eureka. The
Fighting Bees continued their offensive explosion, posting another 11 goals.
Kraciun, Morake, and Nick Stackhouse (left) each posted two goals apiece. Rob
Prior, Sebestian Pena, MacInnes, Jared Winking, and Clark each added a goal of
The Bees had little contest in the match as they wore down the Eureka defense
taking a total of 47 shots, 31 on goal.
Luke Ridgway, Vince Rhodes (right) and Becsi led the defense in limiting the
Eureka attack to four shots, only one on goal, and posting two shutouts in a
row. Last season, the Bees scored a total of 18 goals and bettered that mark by
one in just the last two games this season. Along with already surpassing last
year's win total of four, the men have found their offensive stride as they are
getting closer to conference play.
The Bees will host two more games next week against Augustana and Grand View.
The Augustana match will be played Wednesday at 4 p.m. and the match against
Grand View will start Midwest Collegiate Conference play Saturday at 3 pm.
Bees' winning streak reaches four
Sept. 17, 2012
Culver-Stockton box score |
Coe box score |
Midland box score
by Brent Beerends
After starting the season with two difficult losses St. Ambrose was able to
get some breathing room with the postponed game against Trinity International.
After the break the Bees have come into their own winning last week at Monmouth
2-1 to start a four-match winning streak.
The streak continued with a 3-2 win at Culver-Stockton on Sept. 11. The Bees
fell behind early as Culver-Stockton added a goal in the fifth minute. It did
not take long for the Bees to respond as Tyler Clark would put the ball in the
back of the net in the 29th minute off a beautiful pass from Matt Kraciun.
the score tied 1-1, SAU added another goal in the 41st minute by an unassisted
Jared Winking (left) to make the score 2-1. Culver-Stockton did not let up and
scored the equalizer in the 78th minute to force the Bees on the attack again.
The onslaught did not take long as Kraciun (right) added add his first goal of
the game in the 79th minute off a penalty kick. The goal would put the Bees
ahead for the rest of the match and extend their winning steak to two games.
The Bees didn't have much time to savor the win. St. Ambrose had a quick
turnaround but it didn't bother the Bees in a 4-1 win at Coe on Sept. 13.
From the first blow of the whistle, the match was in the Bees' favor as they
added a quick goal in the sixth minute by Kraciun who received a great pass from
Tirelo Morake. Just two minutes later, Morake put a ball in the top corner of
the net to push the lead to 2-0.
their only goal of the match in the 63rd minute. The Bees would go on to add two
more goals to put the goal out of reach. The first goal came from Kraciun,
adding his second of the match, who controlled a great pass from Chris Davisson
(right). The last goal of the match was added in the 81st minute by an
unassisted Nick Stackhouse.
The road games - and the wins - continued with a 2-1 win over Midland in a
neutral-site game in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 16. It took some late-minute
heroics as Midland led 1-0 until the 82nd minute. Then, Charlie MacInnes tied
the score at 1-1 off a pass from Winking. With four minutes left in regulation,
Kraciun took a MacInnes pass and beat the Midland keeper for his fourth goal of
the week. Caleb Becsi made eight saves in the win.
The menís soccer team will be looking to extend their current four game
winning steak against Rockford on September 20 and will be starting the first of
a four game home stretch.
Kraciun, Winking named MCC Players of the
Sept. 17, 2012
helping St. Ambrose to a perfect week, Matt Kraciun and Jared Winking helped the
Bees sweep the Midwest Collegiate Conference Men's Soccer Player of the Week
honors. Kraciun (left) was named the league's offensive player of the week while
Winking (right) took home the award for his play on the defensive end.
Kraciun, a senior midfielder from Bettendorf, Iowa, picked up four goals and
an assist in three wins last week. He had a goal and an assist at
Culver-Stockton, scored twice at Coe and tallied another goal vs. Midland to
close the week.
Through SAU's 4-2 start this season, Kraciun leads the Bees with 11 points
and is tied for the team lead with four goals.
Winking, a senior defender from Quincy, Ill., was the leader of a St. Ambrose
defense that allowed just four goals in the three victories.
He also chipped in offensively, scoring a goal at Culver-Stockton and
assisting on a goal against Midland.
Winking has been instrumental in the Bees allowing just 1.61 goals through
their first six matches.
Kraciun and Winking joined Ashley Dexter (offensive) and Morgan Lynn
(defensive) as SAU swept all four soccer player of the week honors.
The St. Ambrose men's team will play its first of four straight home matches
Thursday at 3 p.m. against Rockford at the Davenport Soccer Complex.
St. Ambrose picks up first win of season
Sept. 9, 2012
by Brent Beerends
After starting the season off with two losses the Fighting Bees had an
opportunity to capture their first home win Sept. 7 against Trinity
International. The weather had different plans as an abundance of rain led to a
cancelation of the contest that will be rescheduled at the earliest convenience.
The Bees had one more game for the week as they traveled to Monmouth on Sept.
9 in hopes of capturing that first victory.
game seemed to be in the Bees' favor as they took an early lead in the fourth
minute on a header by Charlie MacInnes (left) from a beautiful pass by Matt
Kraciun. The goal would be the third of the year for MacInnes, matching the
number of games that the Bees have played thus far.
The Bees would continue the offense onslaught by adding the go-ahead goal in
the 15th minute by Tirelo Morake (right), assisted by Tyler Clark.
The rest of the contest was going to be a defensive show as the Bees managed
to hold the shutout until the 86th minute when Monmouth was able to sneak a shot
by Caleb Becsi. The Bees would not crack under the pressure and would hold on
for the victory and notched their first in the win column this year.
The Bees (1-2) will be looking to even up their record for the year as they
will travel to Canton, Mo., to play Culver-Stockton on Sept. 11.
Bees show potential in two early-season losses
Aug. 28, 2012
Taylor box score |
Judson box score
to incorporate several new faces into the lineup, the St. Ambrose men's soccer
team was tested right away. The Bees opened the 2012 season against No. 20
Taylor and pushed the nationally-ranked Trojans to the limit before falling 2-1
After surrendering a goal in the first minute of the second half, SAU got its
equalizer 30 minutes later. Tyler Clark (left) scored an unassisted goal to tie
the match at 1-1 in the 76th minute.
Caleb Becsi (right) came up with three of his six saves in the second half
to help force overtime.
In the overtime, Taylor escaped with the win with a goal at the 107:51 mark,
dropping the Bees to 0-1.
After the tough loss, St. Ambrose was forced to turn around and play Judson
the next day. Again the Bees came up a goal short, this time 3-2.
scored just five minutes into the match but the goal was quickly answered by an
unassisted Charlie MacInnes (right) score in the 15th minute.
The Eagles added two goals in the second half but the Bees never gave up
hope, with MacInnes scoring his second goal of the match in the 86th minute to
cut the deficit to 3-2.
MacInnes had one last shot at the tie, but the Judson keeper came up with the
save to drop the Bees to 0-2.
The Bees will look to get their first win against a visiting Trinity
International squad on Sept. 7, at 3 p.m.
St. Ambrose men's soccer has new look in 2012
Aug. 13, 2012
By Brent Beerends
The St. Ambrose menís soccer team faced many tough challenges in 2011. The
Bees ended last season with an overall record of 4-13 and were 2-6 in the
Midwest Collegiate Conference. The menís team fell short of expectations last
season but will look to build on a season that provided insight
into their character.
The Bees will have a new look as head coach Jon Mannall has continued to recruit
locally but also placed an emphasis on international players. The Bees will be
bringing in 10 players from overseas coming from England, Scotland, the
Netherlands and Australia. The new look will change the landscape of the Bees
now and in the future.
The ultimate test for the Bees will be to build team cohesion. The mix of local
and international talent is going to bring two different exciting styles of play to the menís
soccer program. St. Ambrose is going to have a year with moderate expectations
which may help them upset some of the perennial powerhouse schools in the MCC.
"This seasonís incoming class will have a significant impact on our 2012
squad. The mix of local talent and international players will change the dynamic
of the team and make for a very exciting 2012 season," Mannall states.
The new group of players will be joining an experienced group of returners in
every position on the pitch. The defender position is going to be highlighted by
the return of Jared Winking (left), who garnered all-conference selection in
2011 while starting in 18 games for the Bees. The Bees will also see the return of their junior captain John Vince Rhodes
The midfield positions will see the return of two seniors in Tirelo Morake and
Chris Davisson (above right). Morake was the main shot taker for the Bees in
2011 taking 27 total shots and putting 13 shots on goal. The Bees will get help from
incoming transfer Tyler Clarke, who will provide an impact with his energy and
The midfield is an essential component of any soccer program and
will be a position that may determine the Bees success in 2012.
"The quality of the midfield players throughout the conference makes this an
essential area of the field to be able to control and compete. For us the
midfield position is crucial to be able to make a stronger run within the
conference this season," Mannall believes.
The forward position will need the most improvement from the 2011 season as the
Bees were outscored 50-18. The Bees will see the return of all-conference
attacker Matt Kraciun (right), who led the team with six goals in 17 games.
Kraciun will be joined by incoming transfer Charlie MacInnes, who is going to
add much needed size and strength to the forward position. The Bees are going to need to find a consistent shot taker that will
pressure opposing defenses and keep them on their heels.
The goalkeeper position will see the return of Matt Tucker (above left), who started 13 games
in 2011. Tucker will be pushed by returning backup Kyle Williams, who started
two games for the Bees in 2011, and incoming transfer from Australia, Caleb Becsi.
The Beesí 2012 schedule is going to provide a good out-of-conference test that
will prepare them for their Midwest Collegiate Conference opponents. The two
out-of-conference tests of Augustana and Judson will be matches that the Bees
will be able to see how they have improved from 2011 and provide insight in to
what to expect with conference play. The 2011 conference schedule was difficult
as the MCC was filled with talent at every school, but the loss of high quality
seniors in other programs will give the Bees a chance to compete.
"The schedule gives us a good test with a mix of opposition, including some
ranked opposition out-of-conference to prepare us for the tough in-conference
schedule that the MCC always offers," Mannall states.
One game that should garner special attention is the contest against Grand View
University on Sept. 29. Grand View is one of the top conference schools and has
established a strong soccer tradition. It will be a good test for the Bees and
the start of their conference schedule.
The Bees can expect to grow from an up-and-down 2011 season and find a new
identity in 2012. The emergence of many new recruits will be seen throughout the
season and provide some much needed energy to the St. Ambrose menís soccer