Men’s Soccer: Hawks score late to blank Newman, 1-0September 2, 2012

Bolstered by the return of 10 starters, the Rockhurst Hawks open the 2012 season hoping to go at least one step further in the postseason than they did last season. The Hawks advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Division II Championships before falling to Millersville in a shootout.

The Hawks, ranked sixth in the NSCAA Division II preseason poll, kicked off the season by tying Benedictine 1-1 Thursday night in Atchison, Kan. Sophomore midfielder Austin Tierney scored in the 64th minute for Rockhurst to even the score. Benedictine took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick at the 25:02 mark. Rockhurst outshot the Ravens 17-8. Nate Siesener, who assisted on Tierney's goal, led the Hawks with four shots.

Rockhurst came back on Sunday to post its first win of the season. Junior forward Mark Magee scored in the 85th minute to give the Hawks a 1-0 victory over Newman in Wichita, Kan. Magee's shot was set up by a long kick from junior goalkeeper Ryan Bass. The Hawks outshot the Jets, 18-7, led by Magee with four shots. Bass finished with four saves.

Rockhurst’s Tony Tocco begins his 42nd season as the third winningest coach all-time in intercollegiate soccer. Tocco joined the 600-victory club with a 2-0 victory over Northern Kentucky in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game at Bourke Field last November.

Tocco’s Hawks were the stingiest defensive team in the country last year. The Hawks broke a school record by only allowing seven goals in 22 games. He returns his All-American goalkeeper, Ryan Bass, who led the nation with a 0.33 goals against average last season, while posting 14 shutouts.

Seniors Dan Frohock and Joe Zang, along with junior Jon Schreiber, started nearly every game last year on defense. Tocco will have to find a replacement for All-American defender Kyle Miller, who graduated and is now playing for professional soccer for Sporting Kansas City.

Junior Oussie Gueye will move from the midfield to defense. Junior George Skevington gives the Hawks another strong defensive player off the bench. Nick Caruso, John Mehl and Luke Moore add depth to the backline.

In the midfield, the Hawks will be led by junior All-American Paolo Scoppola and senior Ruben Perez. Scoppola was third on the team with six goals. Austin Tierney rounds out the starters in the midfield. Sean Verbanic, Jordan Giacoletto, Justin Hershey, Jake Grimes and Nate Siesener will also see playing time.

Rockhurst will be strong at the forward positions with Mark Magee and junior Nick McDonald, and sophomore Lucas De Rossi. Magee, a first team All-American, led the team with 14 goals and 12 assists last year. McDonald finished with 10 goals and two assists. De Rossi contributed four goals and five assists. Senior John Merlo and sophomore Keith Williams will also help up front.

The Hawks play their first four games of the season on the road before hosting Wisconsin-Parkside on Friday, Sept. 14 in their first of seven home games in 2012.

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