PLATTSBURGH — Clinton Community College men’s soccer coach Zac Eppler likes what he sees from this year’s team.
But Eppler knows nothing will come easy.
“I feel really good about this group,” he said. “A lot of players are from the area, and we make a good team. We have great kids, and I can’t say enough about their attitude.
“We’re a pretty solid group, and we have smart soccer players. But we have to play against ranked teams like Herkimer, Onondaga and Mohawk Valley on the road. We’re going to have to work hard for wins.”
The Cougars will also need to do a good share of their work on the road.
The Clinton field will not be available for use this season, and the Cougars have 12 games on the road and six at Plattsburgh State. In fact, 10 of the Cougars’ first 11 games are away from Plattsburgh.
“That’s tough,” Eppler said. “Playing that many games on the road can be both good and bad.”
The Cougars, who open their season with a difficult game at 2 p.m. at Onondaga C.C. on Sunday, have 21 players on the roster.
“We’ve never had 21 players going into the second week of practice,” Eppler said. “Definitely, we have bench strength.
“We have a lot of talented players. We have to play smart and as a group. Especially on defense, but I think we’re capable of that. We’re probably going to be a little more defensive minded in certain games. Hopefully, we will work together to make our defense transition to offense.”
The Cougars have a good mix of veterans and newcomers.
Among the key returners are Travis Agoney in net; Ben Smith and Kevin Murnane on defense; Matt Leta, Ryan Lee, Akash Tarar and Lawrence Montanaro in the midfield; and Jordan Knight up top.
Former Chazy standout Kaleb Snide is a newcomer who will be counted on heavily.
“Snide is a pretty solid player,” Eppler said. “He will play either stopper or center midfield for us.”
Other newcomers expected to help out include Keon Jahanbakhsh and Nate Noelting in the back; Matt Follett, Cory Farley and Daniel Escobar in the midfield; and former Northeastern Clinton standout Jamie Davison up top.
Jon Brown, Dylan Riley, Edward Blow, Hugo Leon, Nick Rhino and Ethan Markwica will also look for playing time, with Rhino and Markwica working out in net.
“We expect this group to take a more positive route,” Eppler said.
Clinton C.C. men’s soccer 2012 roster
2- Dylan Riley, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
3- Lawrence Montanaro, AuSable Chasm/AuSable Valley
4- Ben Smith, Plattsburgh/Beekmantown Central
5- Edward Blow, Plattsburgh/Beekmantown Central
6- Matt Leta, Peru/Peru Central
7- Akash Tarar, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
8- Matt Follett, Brushton/Brushton-Moira
9- Keon Jahanbakhsh, Plattsburgh/Beekmantown Central
10- Cory Farley, Polard/Poland
11- Ryan Lee, Port Kent/AuSable Valley
12- Travis Agoney, Morrisonville/Saranac Central
15- Jamie Davison, Mooers/Northeastern Clinton Central
16- Kaleb Snide, Chazy/Chazy Central
17- Hugo Leon, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
18- Nick Rhino, AuSable Forks/AuSable Valley
19- Daniel Escobar, Caracas, Venezuela/Champagnet
21- Ethan Markwica, Westport/Westport Central
22- Jonathan Brown, West Chazy/Saranac Central
23- Jordan Knight, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
25- Nate Noelting, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
27- Kevin Murnane, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh High
Aug. 26- at Onondaga C.C., 2 p.m.
Sept. 1- at Cayuga C.C., 4 p.m.
Sept. 2- at Herkimer C.C., 3 p.m.
Sept. 5- ADIRONDACK C.C., Plattsburgh State, 3 p.m.
Sept. 11- at Paul Smith’s College, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 15- at Jamestown C.C., 4 p.m.
Sept. 16- at Corning C.C., 1 p.m.
Sept. 19- at North Country C.C., 4 p.m.
Sept. 22- at Finger Lakes C.C. 4 p.m.
Sept. 23- at SUNY Delhi, 1 p.m.
Sept. 25- at Hudson Valley C.C., 4 p.m.
Sept. 29- MOHAWK VALLEY C.C., Plattsburgh State, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 3- at Adirondack C.C., 4 p.m.
Oct. 6- HUDSON VALLEY C.C., Plattsburgh State, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 8- FULTON-MONTGOMERY C.C., Plattsburgh State, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 10- at Word of Life, 4 p.m.
Oct. 13- JEFFERSON C.C., Plattsburgh State, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 16- NORTH COUNTRY C.C., 6:30 p.m.