The Iowa Central men's and women's soccer teams believe they have the right mix of experience and newcomers to compete against the best of the best this year.
The Triton men posted a 13-7 record last fall, finishing third in the ICCAC behind Iowa Western and Marshalltown.
Leading the way for Iowa Central and head coach Ben Taylor will be captains Mitch Conning and Miguel Carrillo.
"We've already played two preseason games against quality four-year opposition and the leadership on show was key to both of our positive results," Taylor said. "I think our returners have already demonstrated that we have better leadership this year, which is something that let us down last season."
Along with the experience that Conning and Carrillo bring to the pitch, Taylor is counting on the likes of freshmen Oliver Korngor, Haris Miftari, Almedin Plavulj and Lyle Orange to help.
"Our starting lineup will probably end up being 70 percent freshmen, with all of them ready to make an impact," Taylor said. "We have a few guys that have picked up injuries that we haven't been able to feature yet, but we will.
IOWA CENTRAL MEN'S SOCCER
Freshmen - Brandan Appenzeller, Colton Craig, Craig Fishel, Bradyn Flaig, Dalton Harvey, Brandon Jessen, Trey Kahl-Long, Dagoberto Molina, Nathaniel Smith, Eli Waits, Samuel Mars, Jose Romero, Adrian Khan, Julian Penagos, Lyle Orange, Edis Miftari, Sebastien Desir, Haris Miftari, Almedin Plavulj, Parker Huebsch, Oliver Korngor, Rafael Verduzco, Evan Morn.
Sophomores - Carl Bechtel, David Jaramillo, Anthony Ratliff, Alarick Seuferer, Andrew Sheker, Jordan Sibenaller, Michael Mayberry, Aaron Byrne, Mitchell Conning, Hugo Navarro, Elvis Barclay, Eric Bonewitz, Miguel Carrillo.
Aug. 30 - vs. Bismarck State in Rosemount, Minn.; 31 - vs. Century College in Rosemount, Minn.
Sept. 1 - vs. Dakota County in Rosemount, Minn.; 6 - Scott; 10 - Iowa Lakes; 13 - at Marshalltown; 17 - Central-Columbus; 20 - at Indian Hills; 24 - Iowa Western; 27 - at NIACC.
Oct. 1 - at Anoka-Ramsey; 4 - at Scott; 7 - at Iowa Lakes; 11 - Marshalltown; 15 - Anoka-Ramsey; 18 - Indian Hills; 21 - at Iowa Western; 25 - NIACC; 29 - regionals.
IOWA CENTRAL WOMEN'S SOCCER
Freshmen - Sam Earley, Nicole Medeiros, Jazlin Sprague, Hannah Davies, Haleigh Dolder, Madeline Westerhoff, Silvana Iacuzzi-David, Chelsea Kritzer, Itza Bacerra, Rilee Miller, Samantha Smith, Araceli Angel, Chandler Day, Aurora Rodriguez, Alexia Vaughn, Connor Wood, Jessica Garcia, Cindy Guerra, Haylee Lindquist, Elizabeth Schreiber, Paige Savery, Dajaner Brown, Destany Blevins, Mercy Nyan.
Sophomores - Arisa Recella, Rachel Bailey, Melanie Acevedo, Dalila Rodriguez, Dayna Chong, Geovana Alves, Kathryn Salinas, Daniela Ambrosio, Erica Hansen.
Aug. 23 - vs. Broward College in Pensacola, Fla.; Aug. 24 - vs. Darton College in Pensacola, Fla.; Aug. 29 - vs. Bismark State in Rosemount, Minn.; Aug. 30 - vs. Century College in Rosemount, Minn.; 31 - vs. Anoka-Ramsey in Rosemount, Minn.
Sept. 6 - Scott; 10 - Iowa Lakes; 13 - vs. Monroe College in Jackson, Mich.; 14 - at Jackson College; 20 - at Indian Hills; 24 - Iowa Western; 27 - at Trinidad State.
Oct. 4 - at Scott; 5 - Parkland; 7 - at Iowa Lakes; 15 - at Century College; 18 - Indian Hills; 21 - at Iowa Western; 29 - regionals.
"I could really see Oliver being a bit of a fan favorite because he has the ability to make something happen out of nothing and fans will enjoy watching that."
Iowa Western, which claimed the NJCAA national title last year, occupies the top spot in the Div. I preseason poll and is the only member of the conference ranked. The Tritons will also play No. 11 Dakota County,
"We play a tough schedule," Taylor said. "But that's the only way to get better. There's no point playing teams we can walk all over."
With the defending champs in the league, Taylor and the Tritons will see first-hand what they need to do to achieve their ultimate goal.
"We want to win a national championship," he said. "That is a big goal and we have to meet the smaller goals in order for that to happen."
The Triton women went 13-3-1 last year and return Rachel Bailey and Geovana Alves from that squad. The duo combined to scored 23 goals and will help provide leadership for a strong nucleus of freshmen.
"We are very excited to have Rachel and Geovana back, as they were two of our key players last year and bring experience for the younger players," ICCC head coach Christiane Lessa said. "We are also very excited about the freshmen coming in, especially the local talent from Fort Dodge."
Former Dodgers Paige Savery, Haleigh Dolder and Madeline Westerhoff have all traded in the red and black for blue and white and will be counted on by Lessa to help our this year.
"Every freshman coming in will be a huge impact," she said. "We improved our numbers from 27 to 37 and that will be key because last year we did not have a solid bench. Now, we are in much better shape."
Defending national champion Iowa Western starts the year No. 1 in Div. I and is the lone ICCAC school ranked. Anoka-Ramsey is fifth in Div. III and will play the Tritons to close out this month.
"Iowa Western will be a challenge once again," Lessa said. "We will be ready to play anyone this year thanks to our improved schedule."
The Tritons open up the home portion of their schedule on Sept. 6 against Scott at Rogers Sports Complex.
Taylor is assisted by Jared Beauchamp and Pablo Rodriguez, while Lessa is assisted by Arica Pfeil.