Red Devil men to kick off soccer season

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Members of the 2009 Allen County Community College men’s soccer team are (left to right), front row, Tommy Hopough, Ben Hannah, Eric Tomlison, Phil Moore, Zack Hanks, Derek Hayes, Lehi Ortega, Taylor House, Sam Travis, Roberto Rivera; back row, assistant coach Jordan Knowles, head coach Doug Desmarteau, Eder Nieto, Kyle Pilant, Josh Garcia, Greg Hermann, Ethan Kennedy, Daniel Okpare, Zach Doolan, Derek Garcia, Chris Villatoro, Tyler Hageman, Christian Rodriguez, assistant coach Jeremy McGinnis.

Three straight NJCAA Region VI soccer final four appearances have Allen County Community College’s Red Devil men on the path head coach Doug Desmarteau wants them on.
Three years ago the Red Devils broke through to the final four and Desmarteau is ready to push his men’s soccer team to the next step — a Region VI championship.
“That’s the goal every year. We lost some key people to graduation but we also have a strong group returning and a freshman group of players who should be impact players for us this year,” Desmarteau said.
A year ago the Red Devils went 7-10-2, making the playoffs. They upended Johnson County (12-7-1) in the opening round then lost to eventual Region VI champion Garden City 3-2 in the semifinals.
In his fifth season at the helm of the ACCC soccer program, Desmarteau is not one to look back. He sees opportunity for the 2009 edition of the ACCC men’s soccer team to go far.
“We’re a very good technical team. We possess the ball very well. Our defense is a strength with three sophomores returning in the defensive back and Zack Hanks in the goal,” Desmarteau said.
Hanks didn’t get much time in the goal as a freshman but was able to learn while watching NJCAA All-Region VI second-team goalkeeper. Desmarteau said Hanks had great size and quickness as a keeper. Christian Rodriguez, a freshman from Las Vegas, Nev., is the backup goalkeeper and also will see time as a midfielder.
Sophomores Phillip Moore, Zach Doolan and Ethan Kennedy bring back experience defensively. They will be counted on to help Hanks ward off opposing teams’ offensive attacks.
Josh Hardy had been one of Allen County top goal scorers as a freshman in 2007. He didn’t get to play last year because of a knee injury and red-shirted. Now, Hardy is healthy and ready to get back in the game.
“We expect Josh to lead our offensive attacks. With him and Lehi Ortega up top, we have good experience on the offensive side,” Desmarteau said.
Other sophomores re-turning are Derek Hayes, Daniel Okpare and Josh Gabbert. Greg Hermann and Derek Garcia are transfer sophomores.
Allen County has 11 freshmen on the squad counting Rodriguez. The other freshmen are Tyler Hageman and Sam Travis, both out of Wichita, Eric Tomlinson, Taylor House and Ben Hannah, all from Tulsa, Chris Villatoro and Eder Nieto of Austin, Texas, Kyle Pilant of Topeka, Roberto Rivera of Las Vegas and Tommy Hopough of Fairbanks, Alaska.
“Chris Villatoro and Eder Nieto will play in the middle and both are impact players for us. We just have good competition for all the spots on the field and that makes the team better,” Desmarteau said.
“We have good team speed and handle the ball well. In soccer, you can dominate a game and lose 1-0. We have the potential of scoring goals and winning close games because of our defense.”
Desmarteau relies on his two assistant coaches — Jeremy McGinnis and Jordan Knowles — to help prepare the Red Devils.
After a couple of exhibition games last Wednesday and Tuesday, the Red Devil men kick off the 2009 season Monday at Arkansas City against Cowley County Community College. Their home opener is Sept. 10 against Hesston.