Hoover signs with Denison University

Tom Flynn
Special to Black Mountain News
Lorenz Hoover, center, signs on Feb. 18, to play soccer for Denison University.

Denison University’s men’s soccer team will add a high-powered offensive threat to its lineup this fall in the Warhorses’ Lorenz Hoover. Hoover signed with the Big Red on Feb. 18 in Owen High School’s gymnasium.

Hoover is a two-sport athlete at Owen and competes on the tennis team in the spring. His mom, Karen Lenk, was on hand for the signing and saw in her son hard work being rewarded.

“Lorenz had an amazing work ethic in school and in his soccer career he’s played with the [Asheville-based] High Football Club traveling team since he was eight years old,” Lenk said. “He’s always been a really hard worker.”

Hoover was heavily recruited by the Granville, Ohio-based school after they saw his talent on display at an ID camp that they hosted. “ID camps” in soccer parlance are the equivalent of prospect camps in many sports.

The university looked for Hoover to commit early this year if he was interested, and provided him with a generous scholarship opportunity as part of his recruiting package.

“He’s worked really hard on his academics, too, and I’m really proud that he was able to go to such a good university,” added Lenk, also an Owen graduate.

“I had a couple of college options to play soccer, but Denison really connected with me at an early stage in the process,” Hoover said. “They seemed to be more concerned with my comfort level at the school and with academics, and settling in there as a second home rather than if I just wanted to play soccer there.”

Hoover had praise for what head coach David Fiest and the Warhorses’ program instilled in him as a developing player during his high school years.

“I started playing here my freshman year. Coach Fiest gave me a good opportunity to be on varsity as a freshman and to see a lot of the older players whom I looked up to. Owen really prepared me for the physical aspect of the game,” he said. “As a freshman I wasn’t the biggest player out there and Owen helped me prepare myself in a way that my body could keep up with my mind. There were some people out there that were bigger, faster, stronger, and they really helped me with that.”

“They also really helped with the attacking part as well. Before I came to Owen, I was really set on just getting the ball and playing it to other players. Owen helped me grow to where I could be creative and create goal opportunities rather than just playing the ball to another player,” said Hoover.  

Fiest reciprocated the praise. The Warhorses went 15-5 and 10-0 in conference this year, and during Hoover’s four years posted a 37-6-1 conference mark.

“Lorenz came in and I knew automatically he was going to be a smart player. With his size coming in, he was quick, but he got bumped around a little bit. I do think that the physical aspect of the game came in quickly for him,” Fiest said. “He agreed to put on size and started working out.”

“Players tend to say ‘Oh yeah, I’m working out,’ but they don’t change.  Lorenz started working out and there was an immediate change. From his freshman year to his sophomore year. Then from his sophomore year to his junior year, he was probably the strongest player on the team. And he played bigger than most, at that point. He wasn’t being pushed off the ball. He’s been an inspiration to most of the players as far as sticking to a routine and getting what you want, and getting what you work for,” added the coach. “Like I told Lorenz, I really appreciate the gift that he’s given to the program. What he’s leaving behind not only as a player but as a person. He’s got a big personality.”

Athletic director Anthony Lee had an overall view of Hoover’s development as a top athlete at Owen.

“I think Denison has a great talent coming to them, I think he’s going to surprise some people because he’s got a lot of soccer skills,” said Lee. “It’s exciting. I’m glad for him, I wish him the best, and I think they got a good one.”