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Mens soccer has high hopes for season

09/01/2010
By:

Chris Torres

Copy Editor

While qualifying for the NCAA tournament, the Southern Connecticut State University men’s soccer team abruptly ended their 2009 campaign with back-to-back losses.

With the 2010 season approaching, head coach Tom Lang said he feels good about the players on this year’s team and hopes to make a return to the postseason.

“We’ve got about 15 guys coming back,” said Lang. “I thought that there were moments in the spring
where we did very well, and then with the addition of new players that we have coming in, we think that we will be able to create a pretty competitive environment within the squad.”

Captain and junior midfielder Paul Templeton, who led the team with 18 points last season, is one of the key returning starters. Templeton said he thinks the team can build off of last year’s accomplishments and said the goal is to get better.

“I think we have the basis to build on last season and do great things as a team like every season here,” said Templeton. “As a team, I think we need to concentrate on moving the ball, using our strengths and on a personal level as a captain, I will try and lead this team as best as I can.”

Lang said he will use the rest of the preseason to determine other captains and said Templeton is a great leader who puts the team first.

“He’s a talented player, he’s very unselfish and is about what’s best for the team,” Lang said of Templeton. “He’s developed into a leader within this group and I think there are a couple of other upperclassmen that have the potential to be leaders as well.”

Two key departures for the Owls are midfielder Pat Carroll and captain defenseman Sean O’Brien.

Although it remains to be seen who will replace both, sophomore midfielder Yoni Feldman, along with seniors Victor Hernandez and Harry Appiah, who both transferred to Southern last year, are among those who are expected to make major contributions to this year’s team.

Hernandez appeared in all 21 games last year, missing only one start while scoring 15 points. Appiah played in 19 and tallied 14 points.

“I feel pretty confident this season,” said Hernandez. “Our skill level is much higher than last year, so I expect more.”

The Owls are also returning goalkeepers Chris Rybacki and Andrew Esposito. Both split time last as Rybacki saw action in nine games, collecting 39 saves while Esposito started 10 games with a total of 30 saves.

Defenseman Mat Glodack and forward Doural Scott are two freshmen who have impressed Lang thus far and could contribute. Overall, Lang said he is happy with the effort his team has put forward.

“So far I’ve been pleased with the work rate of the players in most of the training sessions,” he said. “I think the kids who are returning put a lot of time and effort into the spring and hopefully that translates into the season.”

The Owls are currently ranked fourth in the North-East 10 conference preseason poll and play their first game against Felician College in Bridgeport. Lang said he hopes the success returning players had last season can be passed on to the team’s new additions.

“Every year is different,” he said. “Hopefully the guys who have reached the NCAA tournament (last season) understand what it takes to get there and win and pass along their experiences to the younger players.”

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