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February 07, 2005

USI men’s soccer signs five for the 2005 season

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men’s soccer team announced the signing of five players for the 2005 season. USI Head Coach Dan Hogan has signed two transfers from junior colleges and three from the high school ranks.

Entering their first collegiate season next fall are forward Mike Bendzen (Evansville, Indiana), midfielder Tyree Robinson (Jefferson City, Missouri), and midfielder Dan Grunewald (Munster, Indiana).

Bendzen was an honorable mention All-State and a two-time first team All-City performer at Harrison High School. He also was a two-time first team All-SIAC performer and was named to the IHSAA College Showcase Team. “Mike has incredible pace and a nose for the goal,” said Hogan. “I coached Mike as a U-14 and again as a U-18 in club soccer and know his passion for the game. He will definitely help us in 2005.”

Robinson is a two-sport athlete at Jefferson City High School, lettering in soccer and track. He finished his soccer career as an honorable mention All-State player in 2004 and was a two-time first team All-District and All-Region performer. “Tyree adds strength and technical ability to the center of our midfield,” commented Hogan.

“He is a good passer of the ball and has above average speed,” continued Hogan. “Tyree comes from a good high school program and has been well coached, which will make the transition to college soccer easier for him.”

The Munster High School Most Valuable Player in 2004, Grunewald helped lead the Mustangs to three straight conference and sectional championships (2002, 2003, 2004). “Dan has an extremely high work rate which will help us at the outside midfield position,” stated Hogan. “We feel that his best years are still ahead of him. I am looking forward to working with Dan this coming pre-season.”

Transferring to USI are forward/midfielder Brett Palazzolo (St. Louis, Missouri) and midfielder/back Eric Brewer (Granite City, Illinois).

Palazzolo played two seasons for St. Louis Community College at Meramec after earning seven letters at St. John the Baptist High School in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a first team All-State performer and had 67 goals in four seasons for St. John the Baptist and was a teammate of USI’s Brian Shepherd. Palazzolo also played in the North/South All-Star game as a senior.

“Brett (Palazzolo) was the team’s leading goal scorer with 31 goals as a senior and will be used out wide or as a forward,” said Hogan. “He played two years at one of the top junior colleges in the country, preparing him well for the physical nature of Division II soccer.”

Brewer played two seasons for Southwestern Illinois College where he earned All-Tournament honors at the regional tournament in 2004. He played for Granite City High School prior to attending SWIC and was the team captain in 2002. Brewer also helped GCHS to the 2002 regional and sectional championships.

“Eric (Brewer) played against us in the pre-season and did extremely well,” commented Hogan. “He likes to attack out of the back, which is something that we are lacking right now.”

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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