With head coach Bud Lewis on the cusp of reaching 500 career victories, the Wilmington College men's soccer program is poised for a big season.

Wilmington returns 23 players, including 12 players with starting experience. Additionally, WC returns three players who were forced to sit out last season with injuries.

"It's exciting to have the number and quality of players with starting experience returning," said Lewis. "This should be a very big help in our ability to compete in both our non-conference games and our very challenging Ohio Athletic Conference."

Wilmington returns its leading scorer in junior Niklas Martensson, who recorded eight goals and four assists. However, the Fightin' Quakers must replace the production of Carl Bergstrom (seven goals, three assists) and Anton Holmqvist (two goals, four assists).

Three other players – Grady Garrison, Roman Kirschner and Nati Wallis – scored multiple goals for the Fightin' Quakers. Martensson was tied for the team-lead with four assists.

For the fourth straight season, Wilmington will be breaking in another new goalkeeper. Senior Chris Bourque moves from his defender position to battle for the open position in between the pipes. He will be competing with sophomores Eli Feuer and Oscar Bjornerstedt, along with freshman Jacob Franke.

Senior Nils Asteberg spearheads a defensive unit that needs to keep the pressure off whoever claims the starting goalkeeper position. A four-year starter, Asteberg was the lone Wilmington player to earn All-OAC honors. He was also named Academic All-Ohio for his work in the classroom.

Junior Jason Altmayer, sophomore Tommy Logan and sophomore Gabriel Nygard all return to the backline after posting double figure starts in 2016.

Wilmington opens the 2017 campaign 4:30 p.m. September 1 against Covenant at the Maryville College Invitational.