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MEN'S SOCCER: Great Start to 2021 Season


The men’s soccer team wrapped up their non-league schedule on Saturday, September 4 at Pierce College. The 10-0 win was the biggest scoreline for the men in over a decade. Braden Bennett scored four goals while Breyden Lane, Josh Hieber, AJ Apple, Griffin Teuber, and Michael De La Torre added one each. The Cardinals also forced an own goal from the Raiders.  Atzel Jimenez recorded a shutout and a save in his debut as a collegiate goalkeeper.

The team is currently 4-0 as they begin league play on the road Wednesday at Walla Walla. The Warriors won their only match so far, a 5-2 victory over Edmonds. NIC beat Edmonds 2-0 at the NWAC Friendlies in the first week of the regular season. Walla Walla is a tough place to play; few visiting teams win in Walla Walla. The Warriors appear to have depth in midfield and speed in the flanks. The program is always full of hard-nosed competitors.

The broader look at fall 2021 reveals a deep roster with nine returners. Armando Tapia, Garrett Grillo, and Will Kokernak are expected to provide strong leadership and a presence in each line.  Tapia, from Twin Falls, is a physical left back known for his one versus one defending and the service he provides with his left foot. Grillo is a defensive midfielder from Kennewick and is active on both sides of the ball, stepping into passing lanes and initiating the attack. Kokernak, from Lewiston, is a handful for opposing defenses and a threat to score in a handful of ways. 

Among the freshmen are Adam Hernandez (Rexburg, Idaho) and Josh Hieber (Soldotna, Alaska), both former Region IV players, a rare distinction at small colleges. Braden Bennett joins the program from Utah and currently leads the team with seven goals. Stuart Heringer recorded shutouts in each of his three games so far and is a freshman from Salem, Oregon.  Heringer played for the Shattuck Academy in Minnesota last year, another rare find in the small college ranks. Other potential impact players include centerbacks Evan Yost, Mario Macias, AJ Putnam, and Andrew Ferreira.  Potential impact players in the attacking half of the field include Griffin Teuber and Jai Solis from Centennial High School in Boise.

Overall, the team is more athletic and more decorated than most of NIC’s men’s soccer teams in recent memory. The men look forward to competing day in and day out during practice and especially on gameday as league play begins.

More Information

Men’s Soccer Head Coach Ken Thompson
(208) 676-7157 or

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