All that a coach can ask of his team is to “compete” when they face the opposition. For St. Catharine College coach Tim Wolz that should be no problem because he has seen his Patriots exhibit fierce competition in the weeks before the actual season starts.
“The competition in practice is like nothing I have ever seen,” said Wolz who is entering his second year with the Patriots. “Players are battling for every position. But it is healthy. They are not selfish but competing hard for the benefit of the team.”
The Patriots will definitely need that competitive spirit when they enter into Mid-South Conference play where they were 2-6 last season among an 8-11-1 overall record. This year three conference teams are among the nation’s top 25 in the pre-season poll. Rio Grande starts at 3rd, Lindsey Wilson is 6th and Cumberlands is 24th.
“We are ranked fifth in the conference e which is the best we have ever been in the pre-season,’ Added Wolz. “Campbellsville also received votes for the top 25 and we play Bryan College (Tennessee) who is eleventh nationally.”
With the addition of many talented international players and nine returning starters the Patriots are hoping to make a run toward the post-season for the first time in their four years as a member of the NAIA. But even with the depth of talent and the quality of the newcomers, Wolz must find replacements for some key players lost to graduation.
“Patrick Williams led us in goals last year so we lose a strong attack player there,” said Wolz. “We also must replace our goalkeeper. Last year we had Adam Gillcrist and Will Johnston who each played four years in the goal.”
St. Catharine looked strong in the first preseason scrimmage with a 7-0 win at Berea. They conclude the preseason Sunday with a scrimmage at Kentucky Wesleyan in Owensboro. The Patriots open the regular season Wednesday at Asbury College. The first home game will be September 3rd at 3:00 against Ohio Christian College.