2002 Season Outlook
Aug. 23, 2002
This is the season fifth-year head coach Wade Jean has been anticipating. He has molded his first recruiting class for three years and will find out if his work will come to fruition this fall. Hired in April of 1998, Jean had little time to recruit for his first season, but brought in a highly touted group of freshmen in 1999 which will complete their college eligibility this year. The 2002 roster boasts 10 seniors, including nine that have been with Jean since 1999. Jean's team, which only lost two players to graduation and returns all 11 starters, is oozing with talent and experience.
The nucleus of the team lies in senior All-American candidate Terry McNelis. McNelis begins his fourth season as starting goalkeeper for the Dukes and brings a wealth of honors and achievements into his final campaign. A three-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference honoree, he holds eight of the ten University goalkeeping records. Fellow senior co-captain Nathan Salsi will help by leading a defensive corps that allowed an Atlantic 10 low 17 goals last season.
Offensively, the Dukes will look to senior forward David Gingrich and junior Damien Pottinger to provide the bulk of the scoring this season. The duo led the Red and Blue last season with 13 points each. Gingrich, who has led DU in scoring in each of the past three campaigns, ranks second all-time at Duquesne in career goals (14), assists (13) and points (41). Pottinger scored a team-high six goals last year and has been named to the Atlantic 10 Pre-Season All-Conference Team this year.
GOALKEEPERS McNelis will once again be the starter between the pipes for the Dukes. His height, good footwork and understanding of the game have made him an All-American caliber keeper. He holds the school records for career shutouts (24.5), goals against average (1.10), saves (290), saves percentage (.822) and minutes (5,150). He set the single-season records for shutouts (12) and minutes (1,862) as a freshman and last set the school standard with a 1.04 goals against average. In three years, he has played 5,150 of a possible 5,267 minutes in goal for Duquesne.
Backing up McNelis will be sophomore Bret Krotee. After sitting out the 2000 campaign as a redshirt and the first 15 ? games last season, Krotee made his collegiate debut in the season finale at Westminster. In 45 minutes of action he recorded one save and earned half a shutout. Also providing depth is freshman Zachary Varga. Varga was a Second Team All-League selection as a senior and has been named to the Atlantic 10 Pre-Season All-Rookie Team.
DEFENSEMEN Salsi returns as the leader of the Dukes defense. A three-year starter and two-year captain Salsi is an additional scoring threat for the Dukes from the backfield. Last year he tallied four points on a goal and two assists and found the net with two game-winning goals as a sophomore. His play will be complimented by fellow senior back Christian Reinecker and sophomore Matt Mehler.
Reinecker, who transferred in from Seton Hall last season provided stellar defense for the Red and Blue while earning 11 starts. Mehler also played good defense for the Dukes last year and added an accurate scoring touch. Taking just five shots on the season, he managed two goals and an assist, including a game-winning goal at Robert Morris. Providing depth will be senior James Tarone who saw action in seven games last season while scoring his first collegiate goal and redshirt freshman Brian Kolena.
MIDFIELDERS Pottinger returns as the Dukes top-scoring midfielder. He scored six goals and tallied one assist for 13 points in just 13 games last year after missing the first three contests due to injury. He led the team in goals (6) and shots (39) while scoring game-winning goals versus Temple and La Salle.
Pottinger will receive help from sophomore Derek Mackenzie. A member of the A-10 pre-season and post-season All-Rookie Teams, he was third on the team in points with eight on one goal and three assists. Mackenzie was one of just four Dukes to start all 16 matches last year.
A trio of seniors in John Bechke, Brian McNelis and Steve Olivarez will also be instrumental in the play of the midfield. All three have provided consistent play over the past three seasons and know where each other is going to be. They combined for nine points last season and have 26 combined career points. Junior Jason Kutney also figures into the midfield play as a two-year starter while senior Joe Lucas, sophomore Jason Sourbeer and freshman Pat Dillon will provide depth.
FORWARDS Senior David Gingrich will direct the Dukes scoring attack after leading the team in scoring in each of his three previous seasons. He is second all time at Duquesne in career goals (14), assists (13) and points (41). Gingrich is a crafty player who always manages to be in the right place at the right time. Last year he led the Dukes with 13 points on five goals and three assists. His three game-winning goals give him eight on his career, more than anybody else in Duquesne history.
Senior Matt Hayden hopes to return to his scoring ways of 1999 where he led the Dukes with seven goals as a freshman. Last year he was held pointless in 15 starts but is expected to bounce back and contribute again offensively. Junior Dan Hartung has been a workhorse and consistent scorer for the Dukes over the past two seasons. A starter in all 35 possible contests, he tallied five goals (three game-winners) and four assists for 14 points. He was a member of the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman. Sophomore Trocon Reffell provides outstanding speed and agility to the line-up. A pre-season Atlantic 10 All-Rookie choice last year he managed six points on two goals and two assists.
The Dukes open the 2002 campaign on Sept. 1 at Cleveland State before participating in tournaments at Bowling Green and Colgate. Other non-conference foes include Robert Morris, St. Francis and Canisius. The conference portion of the schedule plays into the hands of a team looking to grab its first league title. The Dukes will play seven of its 11 conference games on the home confines of Rooney Field including the final five contests of the year.