Seventeen first-year players combine with six returners to give Coach Kurt Hostetler his deepest and perhaps most talented men’s roster as a new season of Hesston College soccer approaches. Led by last year’s leading scorer, midfielder Alex Steiner (Kidron, Ohio), the sophomore class will be counted on to provide leadership and guidance to the freshmen. Returners Dustin Linder (Louisville, Ohio), Calvin Graybill (Goshen, Ind), and David Eigsti (Goshen, Ind), give Hesston three experienced defenders, while midfielder Hans Hess (Goshen, Ind) will add depth to their position. One sophomore to keep an eye on is forward Paul Schrag (Hesston, Kan). After a late-season switch from defense to forward last season, the local product flourished in his new role and is now a fixture in the Larks’ offense.
As a whole, the freshmen class has impressed Hostetler and his staff with their cohesiveness and hard-work. Asked to name several new players who might have an early impact, Hostetler pointed out a few who have caught his eye.
“Brad Knispel (Sarasota, Fla.) has looked great, good foot work, composure, he looks like he’ll be an important part of this team,” commented Hostetler. “Dylan Simmons (Rose Hill, Kan.) is another newcomer who has great ball control and speed. It’s difficult to name just a few, the entire class has been impressive, Logan Waite (Winfield, Kan.) and Elliott Wilder (Hesston, Kan.) have also looked good and will add size and speed.” Hostetler immediately listed depth and team speed as attributes he is excited about.
“The intensity level is great,” Hostetler continued. “Everyone is focused and on the same page–we’ll be ready to go.”
The 2009 schedule includes a fall break trip (Oct. 17, 18) to western Texas, where the Larks will play Ranger (Texas) College and Western Texas College (Snyder). A September 25 matchup versus Kansas Wesleyan (Salina, Kan.) during homecoming weekend is another noteworthy game for the Larks.
Hesston opens the 2009 season August 29 at Maple Woods Community College (Kansas City, Mo.)