News release date: November 18, 1996

Sophomore, Freshman Make NCIC Men's Soccer Team

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College sophomore Steve Preikschat and freshman Rob Tonnsen recently received honorable mention recognition on the All-Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges (NCIC) men's soccer team.

Rob Tonnsen
"I am very proud of both Steve and Rob," first-year Whitman coach Brandt Houston said. "I cannot emphasize enough how nice it was to step into a program, without the opportunity to recruit, and find such a solid base of talented sophomores and freshmen to build around."

Preikschat, a 6-foot defender from Bellevue (Wash.) High School, was one of several sophomores who started for the Missionaries.

"Steve is a tenacious defender who was very steady and consistent in every game this season," Houston said.

"His speed, aggressiveness, ability with the ball and skills in distribution were all factors that made him a standout in this league. Steve has an incredible ability to separate the opposition from the ball, maintain possession and serve the ball into an effective attacking position."

Houston said Preikschat filled a huge defensive role for Whitman.

"I was able to use him and his ability to man-mark opposing forwards out of the game. I could count on Steve all season to stay mentally tough in difficult situations and rise to the challenges presented to him. He was ready to perform, both mentally and physically, every time he stepped onto the field."

Steve Preikschat
Houston said Preikschat's "overall performance this year very worthy of honorable mention recognition, if not first- or second-team honors. Steve is going to be an important part of our defensive scheme for the next two years."

Tonnsen, the smallest member of the all-conference team at 5-foot-4, is a midfielder from Billings (Mont.) High School.

"I took a chance in nominating Rob because he is a freshman, and there is always a concern that opposing coaches will overlook first-year players," Houston said. "Rob earned the respect of those coaches, however, and is very deserving of the honor."

Tonnsen, one of Whitman's leading scorers with three goals and three assists, was a "wonderful surprise to receive upon my arrival at Whitman," Houston added. "He's a driven and talented soccer player who gave me a consistently excellent effort in both practice and game play from day one of training camp to the last minute of play this season."

Houston said Tonnsen's style of play was a standard for others on the team to rally around.

"His intensity every time he steps on the field improves the play of his teammates and elevates the level of play in general for Whitman soccer," Houston said. "Because Rob is mentally and physically tough in all aspects of his play, he also is a very difficult mark for other teams in the league."

Houston said Tonnsen will "only improve with his time spent at Whitman. I look forward to contributing to his development as an excellent soccer player. Again, being named to the all-conference team as a freshman is a great honor, one that should not be discounted."

Preikschat was one of five sophomores from the Seattle area area who played key roles for Whitman this season. The others included Brandon Wright, a forward from Eastlake High School in Redmond, Wash., who led the Missionaries in scoring for the second consecutive season.

Rounding out Whitman's Puget Sound sophomore quartet were Damian Hoffman (Eastlake HS), Mark Csepreghy (Bellevue HS) and Greg Postel (Rainier Beach HS).

Sophomores Hollis Erikson (Kamiakin HS, Kennewick, Wash.), Scott Siler (Hillsboro, Ore., HS) and Bill Burkoth (Gunn HS, Palo Alto, Calif.) gave Whitman another shot of youthful talent.

"With the young talent already on board, and with the effort I want to invest in recruiting and building the program, there is no question in my mind that Whitman can become a men's soccer power," Houston said.

Brandon Wright Damian Hoffman Mark Csepreghy

A sliding Greg Postel A smiling Brandt Houston


Brandt Houston, Whitman Men's Soccer Coach, (509) 527-5286
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Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information, (509) 527-5902
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