Olivet College men's soccer team celebrates 2011 season
OLIVET, Mich. – The Olivet College men's soccer team celebrated a successful 2011 season as well as the departure of two student-athletes with an awards banquet Feb. 12 at Schuler's Restaurant & Pub in Marshall.
In 2011, the Comets posted a 14-7-1 overall record, including a 9-5 record against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) opponents. The 14 wins, nine MIAA wins and 27 points in league play all broke the school record. In addition, Olivet celebrated four straight winning seasons for the first time in school history.
Before lunch was served, Head Coach Chad Wiseman introduced Chris Keenan. Keenan along with his wife, Stephanie, own and operate Kalamazoo Kingdom, a soccer development program for youth in southwest Michigan. Together, they also own the Kingdom Indoor Center in Portage. Chris spoke to the team on the importance of the relationships one gains through sports.
"I was thrilled when Chris accepted the invitation to speak at our awards banquet," said Olivet Head Coach Chad Wiseman. "He has been and continues to be a great mentor to me. Once Chris stated that his college roommate is now the U23 National team assistant coach, he got all the players' attention. One of the more important points he had to the men was your college teammates are people you will have and continue to have great relationships with. That will not change even as you grow older. It has not for him and it has not for me."
Junior defender Cole Dehen, and sophomore midfielders Fred Smyser and Adam Wright received their award for being named second-team All-MIAA. The players voted on team awards, which were also handed out. Freshman Alex Lang earned the Newcomer of the Year Award. The Senior Award was collected by Ross Cutler. The Most Valuable Offensive Player Award was given to Wright and Most Valuable Defensive Player Award was presented to Dehen.
The players have proven their commitment in the classroom, as well. Their dedication to academics did not go unnoticed by the conference. The Comets had six players, including Smyser and senior Dalton Guggemos, named to the MIAA Honor Roll of Athletes for the 2010-11 academic year.
The last award given out was probably the most prestigious for the day. Dehen was presented with a certificate for being named to the 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America College Division Scholar All-North/Central team. The award is given to athletes for combining great performances on the field, as well as a solid work ethic in the classroom.
After all of the awards were given out, 1999 Olivet College graduate and four-year men's soccer letterwinner Matt Wait, J.D. addressed the team. He congratulated the team on a very successful season and wishes them the best of luck in the future. At the end of his speech, Wait challenged the team to find someone who can break his single-season scoring record.
"As a staff we were excited to have Matt Wait attend the awards banquet," said Wiseman. "He bleeds red and white and is very proud of his alma mater. Matt also holds many men's soccer records. It is extremely important for current players to know about the past, who played here, what it was like and how important the experience was and still is to our alumni."
Wiseman concluded the afternoon by saying, "The season was a success for sure. I think it's imperative to reflect on each year and each season. The men accomplished a lot through their hard work, determination and willingness to learn. The future is tremendously bright for the Olivet men's soccer program. The guys we have here today are guys with great character, are extremely self motivated and are winners on and off the field. I am very fortunate to have such a great group, and I am already looking forward to the 2012 season."
Click here to view a photo gallery from the event.