Greene County News
FAIRBORN — In soccer, defenders are often the first line of defense against the ball reaching prime scoring zones. Wright State defender and Centerville native Jake Stovall has been one of the leaders for WSU defensively with his size and physicality.
Being positioned at center back has put Stovall in the middle of physical battles to gain possession on a regular basis. He has contributed to the Raiders posting 0.19 goals against average in five league games.
“I love playing defense and being physical,” Stovall said. “Being able to mark the other team’s biggest and strongest guy on corners and set pieces is something that I take a lot of pride in.”
Stovall’s defensive efficiency this season earned him his first Horizon League defensive player of the week award. He says that this recognition is a culmination of the entire Raider defensive unit functioning effectively together.
“I think something like defensive or offensive player of the week is not something that is achieved without your team,” Stovall said. “It’s nice to get recognized for that, but I think our whole defense should too because we’ve played really well together.”
According, to Stovall, he and head coach Bryan Davis have mutually benefitted from their player-coach relationship.
“He (Davis) has definitely challenged me more than I’ve ever been in my life. In the past we’ve disagreed, which is good,” Stovall said. “I think it has helped both of us grow, myself as a player and him as a coach. I’ve gained a lot of respect for him through that.”
Being part of a senior class that has had significant playing time and impact for WSU has heightened the motivation for Stovall and his teammates to reach a Raider coronation with a Horizon League tournament victory.
“Getting to the championship the past two seasons has been a really incredible experience, but it has also been humbling not winning them,” Stovall said. “We feel like this is our year to make it happen.”
The Raiders nearly pulled off an upset against #15 Virginia Tech in a recent road matchup. Throughout the game each team fought hard for possession, and Stovall was on the front lines.
“I’m a bigger guy for soccer so I usually do well in physical games,” Stovall said. “It is fun to play intense games that everyone wants to win and willing to do whatever it takes.”
Outside of Wright State Stovall has played the last three summers in the Premiere Development League for the Cincinnati Dutch Lions. After his WSU career concludes, he hopes to play in the PDL again or another professional league in the U.S.
In the classroom Stovall is a communication studies major with a minor in marketing. He says his positive experiences with the WSU athletic department have sparked his interest in using his degree to work for a collegiate sports program.
The Raiders’ 1-0 overtime loss to Oakland in last season’s Horizon League championship game was a defensive struggle. If this is any indication of how the final could be played this season, expect Stovall to stand tall.