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PHILADELPHIA - The preseason countdown is getting close to zero for Penn as the 2012 men's soccer season will start in earnest on Friday with a home match against Lafayette (5 p.m.). As the campaign commences, a pair of student-athletes were named to serve as captains for the Quakers - senior midfielder Travis Cantrell and junior defender Jonny Dolezal.
136 student-athletes have served as captain for the Quakers dating back to the program's first season in 1905, and 2012's captains bring a wealth of experience and success to guide the club in pursuit of a seventh Ivy League championship.
"When it came time to select this year's captains, our team was unified in their choice of Travis and Jonny," James C. Gentle Head Coach of Men's Soccer Rudy Fuller said. "They both epitomize what our program is about on and off the field and the coaching staff couldn't agree more with the team's selections. Each of them has played a major role in our program's success over the past few seasons and their commitment, work ethic and passion for Penn Soccer have set a good standard for the younger student-athletes in our program. With the help of the other upperclassmen, I am confident that Travis and Jonny will provide the necessary leadership for our team to be successful in 2012."
Cantrell as appeared in every possible match over his first three seasons, starting 44 of 55 caps. In 2009, he began his scoring career with the game-winner against Yale, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. 2010 was a breakout year for Cantrell, with 19 appearances and a career-high four goals and four assists. In the middle of 2010, Cantrell rattled off a three-game point streak - assisting against Richmond before connecting on back-to-back game winners at Cornell and against Columbia in two crucial Ivy League matches. Last season, Cantrell grew in terms of his all-around game, taking on a more prevalent role in the midfield, starting every game for the first time in his career. Over the 17 matches, Cantrell still scored once and added a pair of assists while finishing fourth on the club with 20 shot attempts.
After two seasons playing outside on the back line for the Red and Blue, Dolezal is slated to move to center back in 2012. With 30 appearances and 19 starts in two seasons, Dolezal has gained considerable experience at the college level and has a feel for how Penn organizes defensively. While defense is Dolezal's primary concern, he has contributed in the offensive realm, notching three assists in his first two seasons, including an assist on the game-winner against Princeton last November. One of the fittest players on the club, Dolezal went the distance in 11 of his 17 starts last season.
Cantrell, Dolezal and the Quakers begin the 2012 season with five-consecutive home matches at Rhodes Field, starting with tilt against Lafayette on August 31 at 5 p.m.