They suffered a bitter shootout loss to the Falcons after being tied at the end of regulation and two overtime periods in the KCAC finals to end their 2016 season.
McPherson College men's soccer coach Doug Quint gets to do something this year he hasn't done in a while; focus on just the men's team. Mac hired Mark Olson, associate head coach over soccer the past two seasons, to coach the women's team, freeing up Quint to focus on the men and taking at least one more step this year.
The Bulldogs did something unprecedented in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament last year in beating a No. 1 ranked team for the first time in school history, winning 2-0 over Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The win also sent McPherson to the KCAC final game against Friends University, where they suffered a bitter shootout loss to the Falcons after being tied at the end of regulation and two overtime periods.
With seven returning starters this year and an opportunity to focus on just one team, Quint and the Bulldogs have high hopes and expectations for the upcoming campaign. Four returning seniors, Jared Robbins, Ian Canevari and Kaonnye Opazo at back positions and Edward Gomez at midfielder will play key rolls in any success the Bulldogs have this year. Also in that mix will be Chris Kelly, a junior forward returning starter, whose size, speed and scoring prowess could dictate just how far Mac is able to advance. Tyler Minney, a junior backer is another important piece to the puzzle for Quint.
Others Quint feels are ready to make key contributions to the 2017 edition of the Bulldogs are juniors Erik Espinoza and Hernan Maldonado, along with freshman Navid Istanbullu and Justus Koehler.
Quint enters his 15th season with a 152-100-19 record, going 16-3-2 overall and 8-2-1 in the KCAC last season. Josh Baldwin, Reed Hargrave and Kevin Lamm will assist Quint as they work to win the KCAC tournament this year and advance to the NAIA playoffs.
"Our goal is to better ourselves every day," said Quint. "At the end of the season we want to be playing our best. Oklahoma Wesleyan certainly is the team to beat again this year, as they have only lost one game in the past two seasons and that was to us."
The Bulldogs played an exhibition game on Wednesday night at McPherson Stadium against Allen County Community College. According to NAIA regulations, scores and stats are not kept for exhibitions but it was a great opportunity for the Bulldogs to shake off the rust while playing in front of a friendly crowd as they prepare for their season and home opener Saturday. They will host MidAmerican Nazarene University in a 3 p.m. game at The Kennel.
Contact Matt Cole by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.