Lee Men Prepared For 2018 Season
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
With a year under his belt head coach Derek Potteiger and the Lee men's soccer team are ready to kick things off in 2018 with a revamped roster and a core group of returning players.
In Potteiger's first season the Flames finished an even 6-6-4 and just missed out on the GSC Tournament. The Flames were 4-5-2 in league action and are picked to finish seventh by the conference coaches this year.
Junior defender Samir Williams was named to the All-GSC Preseason team coming off his sophomore campaign where he helped to post six shutouts for the Flames and earn All-GSC Second Team honors.
In addition to Samir, his brother Samaan Williams returns after scoring four goals last season.
Alfie Coldron tied Samaan for the team-lead in points with nine and is back for his senior season. Potteiger will also look to sophomore Jared McWhorter, who scored three goals and started all 16 games as a freshman last season.
Senior impact players Drew Jackson, Jose Orellana and Craig Quinn will also be called upon to help guide the addition of 11 new players to the roster this season.
"We have a veteran group as a whole this year, and in particular a senior class that wants to leave their mark on the program. They have an opportunity to do so and have been clearly focused on that goal since the last day of last season. I don't think any of us are carrying a burden as we approach the season but rather an opportunity to do something pretty special," said Potteiger.
"There is an excitement within the group heading into this season that wasn't there last year. There were so many unknowns last season that just don't exist for us walking into the 2018 season, and that certainly impacts how you view so many aspects of the season," Potteiger said. "We only lost a couple starters but have 11 knew faces this year that will add both quality and depth to a pretty veteran group. So I think we are all cautiously optimistic about the season but recognize it's a long season and our only focus is to control the things that are under our control and get better every single day that we are together."
The defending conference champion Lions earned 9 of 12 first place votes and 116 points to earn the preseason top spot in the GSC.
Spring Hill (102) followed in second while Mississippi College (99), Alabama Huntsville (83) and West Florida (79) rounded out the top five. Montevallo landed in sixth with 71 points while the Flames were just one point back in seventh.
"I feel much more equipped heading into my second season in the GSC where I have a much better feel for the other programs, the quality of those teams, and the challenges we will face as a team," remarked Potteiger. "I don't think that makes any game any easier, we will still have to go out and earn every point possible in those games, but we all believe we are capable of being a relevant team in the conference this year."
The Flames will open up on the road in the Sunshine State as they battle Florida Tech on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. before heading to Embry-Riddle on Saturday, Sept. 1. Lee concludes a three-match road trip to start the year on Sept. 5 as it visits Lincoln Memorial.
The Flames will play their next five matches at the Lee Soccer Field starting with the home-opener on Saturday, Sept. 8 against Bellarmine at 5 p.m.
The GSC opener is slated for Sept. 15 as Lee welcomes rival Shorter to town for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Flames will wrap up the GSC regular season with a trip to preseason favorite West Alabama on Oct. 21.
Two new faces will join Potteiger on the sidelines this season to help lead the Flames. Potteiger announced the hiring of Torrey Stricklin as the new assistant coach back on Mar. 20. Stricklin came to Lee after a successful playing career for coach Potteiger at Gordon College (2012-2016).
After graduating in 2016 Stricklin served on staff at Brown University as an assistant coach in 2017 and was also a coach for a top club team in the New England Revolution Academy. Stricklin has his national coaching diploma from the United Soccer Coaches.
"I've known Derek for several years and loved playing for him so I jumped at the opportunity to join his staff here at Lee," said Stricklin. "We have built a great relationship both on and off the field. I love his vision and the culture he is establishing here at Lee."
"I am thrilled to have Torrey join the Lee men's soccer family. He and I have known each other for quite some time as I initially recruited Torrey to the Naval Academy and then fortunately got to coach him for three years when I moved to Gordon College," said Potteiger. "He was a key player and a team captain at Gordon during one of the most successful spells the men's soccer program ever had, and then immediately jumped into the coaching realm after graduating."
After a decorated playing career for the Lee men's soccer team from 2013-2016, Quade Marinell returns to the Flames as the Graduate Assistant Coach this season.
Marinell was named All-GSC Second Team his senior season after scoring six goals. He finished his career with 27 goals and 17 assists.
Marinell graduated from Lee in 2017 and is currently pursuing his Master's in Education with a focus on curriculum and instruction.
"I'm thrilled to be adding Quade to our staff. I didn't have the opportunity to Coach Quade but the impact he had on the program as a player both on the field and off is still evident," noted Potteiger. "To bring someone like Quade, who had tremendous success here and genuinely loves the University and soccer program, back as a Coach is a real benefit to all of us here and no question he will be a great asset to the group."