(Sabrina Gregory/MJ)

By HANNAH GENIG, Staff Writer

Improvement and high expectations are in store this season for the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s soccer team. Despite the fact that this team is still relatively new and has yet to participate in post-season play, this season has the components to the best this program has ever seen.

After finishing last season with a 4-11-1 record, as well as losing seven key seniors, the stakes are high for returning players. With a young team involving eight freshmen, it is imperative that top players like juniors Richard Hodnicki and Brody Hall exude a firm sense of leadership, both on and off the field.

“I plan on showing leadership through my play. To play hard, consistent, clean, and to hopefully set good examples to follow for the new and younger players,” said Hodnicki.

This junior forward led last year’s team in goals scored and continues to make a huge impact on his fellow teammates, by encouraging the unyielding desire to always improve. “Our goal as a team is to show up every day, and train harder than every other team in our conference, and to compete in every game.”

For junior Brody Hall, the strong midfielder and active leader on the team, the prospect of this season is much different than that of his first two years playing at UM-Dearborn.

“Obviously we always have making the playoffs as not only a goal, but as an expectation. The last few seasons we’ve been disappointed to miss out on post season, and this year we’d really like to take care of business and be on the pitch come November,” said Hall.

As the season starts to pick up, these guys are preparing for some tough Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference competition. Similar to years past, Davenport University and University of Northwestern Ohio will likely be the strongest teams to compete with, but the Wolverines are prepared to have a successful run against everyone and anyone.

“All of the teams in our conference are competitive, and we are looking to compete against everybody,” said Hall.

The Wolverines begin their competition this week with their season opener against Rochester College on Aug. 18. Last season, the Wolverines faced the Warriors twice and split games, so a win this time around would be a great way to acclimate the new players to a successful season.

A fresh group of young players and a winning mentality may be just what this team needs to be at the top of the WHAC rankings. It is time for the Wolverines to have a winning season and as Hall said, “Start building a little program history.”