UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor men's soccer team will look to kick off the 2017 campaign with a win in front of its home crowd, as the Trojans host Robert Morris at Turner Stadium on Saturday, August 19, at 6:00 pm.
TU closed the 2016 season with three wins in its final four regular-season contests, earning the No. 8 seed in the Crossroads League Tournament. In the opening round of the tournament, the Trojans pushed top-seeded Bethel to the brink, tying 2-2 after extra time. Bethel prevailed, 4-3, on penalty kicks to knock off the upset-minded Trojans.
After only losing two players to graduation from last year's squad, 14th-year head coach Gary Ross returns numerous veterans, including seven seniors, who will look to build upon the momentum from the final two weeks of 2016.
"We have a good foundation to build on with a lot of seniors returning who are hungry to win," said Ross.
Forward Gonzalo Iglesias heads the offensive attack, as the senior led the team in goals (9) and points (22) and was second on the team in assists (4) a year ago, while being named to the All-Crossroads League Second-Team. Senior Gabe Saliba, another All-Crossroads League Second-Team selection, provided seven goals and three assists in 2016 and will be a valuable weapon on offense alongside Iglesias.
Junior Jeremiah Rader and seniors Sam Hardy and Lewis Nisbet will bring a combined 137 games of experience to the midfield, with Rader and Hardy each serving as team captains. Rader's seven assists last year were tops on the team, while Hardy and Nisbet garnered All-Crossroads League Second-Team honors.
Senior Gabe Partain returns for his fifth season with the team, after redshirting as a freshman and will serve as a team captain on the defense for a second-consecutive year. Juniors Andrew Johnson and Paul Egenolf will add depth and experience along with Partain.
In the goal, sophomore Luke Williams will return after starting 14-of-19 games for the Purple and Gold as a freshman and recording 81 saves on the season.
Taylor's non-conference schedule is highlighted by a four-team tournament hosted by Trinity Christian, where the Trojans will take on the host Trolls (August 26) and then face a stiff test from No. 5 West Virginia Tech (August 28). TU hosts Judson (September 9) and Concordia (September 15) in non-conference play, in addition to the home opener against Robert Morris on Saturday night.
In the Crossroads League, the Trojans have a home schedule that includes Mount Vernon Nazarene (October 4), Marian (October 14), Indiana Wesleyan (October 21) and Saint Francis (October 25). TU will hit the road in league play against No. 14 Spring Arbor (September 30), Grace (October 7), Bethel (October 11), Goshen (October 18) and Huntington (October 28).