After spending two seasons apprenticing behind long-time KiXX keeper Peter Pappas, who by the way announced his intentions to retire prior to the start of this season, Hovaker returned to the mix for Philadelphia this week in preparation of this key matchup.
KiXX coach Don D'Ambra speaks highly of his goal keeper, saying, "Nick has improved quite a bite with his feet, and he is capable of making the necessary saves to keep us in the game." D'Ambra adds, "he also understands how to break pressures and makes good decisions."
Hovaker appeared in six games last year for the KiXX, turning away 12 shots and recording a 0.75 save percentage. The previous season, he played in 13 matches and compiled an overall record of 3-6 for his rookie campaign. The Pasadena, Maryland native was a First Team All County pick while playing at Chesapeake Senior High School, allowing a stingy four total goals during his senior year. After playing his collegiate soccer at Mount Olive College in North Carolina, he signed a contract to play in Philadelphia in 2007.
As far as Friday’s game, the KiXX (1-3) will be looking to avenge a December 4th loss, in which Baltimore (2-1) out blasted Philadelphia 19-8.
Actually, a KiXX win would help push Philadelphia back up the Major Indoor Soccer League standings, which look to be very crowded throughout the entire season. With a high-powered offense and a defense that feels it has something to prove, D'Ambra feels confident that his team will enter this showdown in Baltimore with a strong focus.
"I believe that the players want to compete and get on a winning track," he remarked. "Our guys worked very hard this week, and they have been extremely focused on getting on the same page and correcting some of the mistakes that we have been making."
Fans will be able to follow all of the action in this match live on Friday night via B2 Networks, with coverage slated to begin prior to kickoff.