The first is change: only head coach Jonathan Platt returns from last year’s squad after being an assistant last year.
The second is young: 18 of the 21 players are freshmen.
“We don’t always have that experience at this level, however we do have a set of freshmen who have played at a high level,” Platt said. “We still have a good group of leaders coming in. We got a few transfers to come in, so we still got those older players to bring in wisdom.”
Both changes will be on display at the Minnesota Kickoff Classic when the Trojans play Lewis and Clark Community College at 1 p.m. on Friday. They will also play Anoka-Ramsey Community College on Saturday at 9 a.m. and College of Lake County on Sunday at 2 p.m.
After a conference regular season title and a top-10 ranking last year under then coach Mike Regan, Platt will try to continue NIACC’s winning ways. Regan, who spent five seasons as head coach for the Trojans, took an assistant coaching job at Drake last February.
Soon after Regan’s departure, all freshmen players transferred. Platt, who still held practices with those players before the end of the school year, was promoted to the head coaching position in June.
Even with the short window for recruiting, Platt feels he and assistant coach Graham Lynch have the tools to continue to be competitive in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) and the Regional Tournament in early November.
“November is what we are working for,” Platt said. “If we get down to Des Moines, anything can happen. We can meet the right team on the right day, play well, and be very successful down there.”
The conference will continue to be tough with power Iowa Western projected to remain on top. Marshalltown Community College and Indian Hills Community College were both ranked at times last season, and Iowa Central will be also look to improve from a fourth place finish last season.
After the weekend, NIACC will jump straight into conference play by traveling to Iowa Lakes on Tuesday and Marshalltown on Saturday.
NIACC will host seven matches this year, six being conference games and a scrimmage against four-year school Carleton College on October 20. The Trojans first home game will be September 11 against Indian Hills at 4 p.m.