The 2009 Stags return with new faces and renewed resolve. Entering his ninth year as head coach, Bim Jollymour brings with him CMS' largest recruiting class in years, featuring freshmen Sam Kider (Rockville, MD), Tain Lee (San Juan Capistrano), Michael Liu (Tustin), Drew Oetting (Iowa City, IA), Jay Tymkovich (Broomfield, CO), and Charlie Walton (Ann Arbor, MI). Add to the mix Jon Khil (Honolulu, HI), a sophomore transfer from Macalester College, and the Stags figure to have a strong young core around which to build a winning team. Of course, the Stags will also rely heavily on returning juniors and co-captains John Morris (Santa Rosa) and Kyle Casella (Tiburon). Morris looks to improve on a sophomore campaign capped of by a second straight All SCIAC Second Team selection, while Casella looks to polish his consistent play that has been a solid contribution to the Stags during the past two seasons. Returning sophomores Jason Tolkin (Mercer Island, WA) and Chris Sercu (Rancho Mirage) should contribute as well, building upon their first year in the college ranks.
Yet if the Stags are to better their third place SCIAC finish from 2008, they will have to do so against some stiff competition in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. 2008 Co-SCIAC Players of the Year E.J. Stenftenagel (Redlands) and Rizal Amin (La Verne) both return to lead teams that finished second and ninth respectively at the DIII National Championship last May. Cal Lutheran also figures to be competitive again this year, so the Stags must play well if they are to make their first National Championship appearance since 2006.
CMS kicks off its season by hosting the University of Puget Sound and Willamette University in the inaugural CMS Invitational on February 2-3. The Stags’ schedule also includes familiar tournaments such as the CLU Kingsman Invitational and West Regional Invitational, as well as new events in Bakersfield and San Diego. The 2009 DIII National Championship will be hosted at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, and it’s surely Florida or bust for the Stags this season.