8/6/2012 12:55:00 PMWEST HARTFORD, Conn. – With the start of the 2012 University of Hartford men's soccer season right around the corner, Anthony Santaga and Connor Yeaney each found success on the pitch at the national level representing their teams from Wisconsin and Georgia, respectively.
Santaga, who enters his junior season at Hartford after transferring from UW-Green Bay for the 2011 campaign, helped the Madison 56ers Soccer Club to a third place finish in the National Premier Soccer League during the summer. The squad first captured the Midwest Title in Cleveland, Ohio and went on to represent the region in the Final Four Tournament held in San Diego, Calif. After falling in the semifinal game to the East region, the 56ers earned third place after scoring a 3-2 triumph over the West champions.
A native of the Badger State who hails from Green Bay, Santaga finished his inaugural season with the Hawks ranked second in scoring with 17 points. His six goals were a team-best number, tying his counterpart David Bernhardsson who also transferred to Hartford from UW-Green Bay prior to last year's campaign.
Yeaney spent his summer with the Guinnett Soccer Association (GSA) where he helped lead the 93 Phoenix Red Boys, a U19 squad, to a second place national finish. GSA kicked-off the summer by going unbeaten through the Georgia State Cup, scoring 19 goals while conceding just three to earn the state title.
The squad then continued its unbeaten ways in the group stages of the Region III Championships and went on to gain entry to the 2012 Youth Soccer National Championships held in Rock Hill, S.C. After going 2-1 in their group stage games, GSA fell to the Crew from Ohio South and concluded their season as the United States Youth Soccer (USYS) national runners up.
Yeaney was named to the 2011 America East All-Rookie team as a defender. During his debut season, the Marietta, Ga. native netted three goals, third-most on the team, and finished tied for fifth in points with six. Yeaney was one of five Hawks to start and play in all 18 games last season.
The 2012 edition of the Hartford Hawks will make their return to campus on Wednesday for the start of preseason. The squad will commence its fall season by traveling nearly 500 miles to visit West Virginia on Friday, August 25 for its first-ever meeting with the Mountaineers, a team that has advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament the past two years.
Last season, the Hawks finished 8-9-4 overall and were the runners-up of the America East Championships. In addition, the team boasted one of the league's top offenses, totaling 81 points (29 goals, 23 assists) in 21 games. The Hawks led the conference in assist and finished second in goals, goals per game (1.38) and assists per game (1.10).