2007 Men's Soccer Preview

    Senior tri-captain Alex Bury.

    Senior tri-captain Alex Bury.

    Aug. 14, 2007

    After two seasons in which the Providence College men's soccer team earned consecutive berths to the NCAA Tournament, the 2007 squad will look to stay consistent and make an unprecedented third straight trip to the NCAA's under the tutelage of Head Coach Chaka Daley, who is entering his eighth season. Last season's team posted a 13-7 overall mark and fell just one win shy of equaling a school record for most victories in one season (14 set in 1984). However, the Friars did set a school record for most BIG EAST triumphs (seven). The Friars made their eighth appearance all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament and fourth under Daley. The team also advanced to Tournament Semifinals for the third time in the last four years. Despite losing three starters from last season's team, Providence welcomes a strong incoming class and returns a solid core of veterans who will look to help the team compete on the regional and a national level.

    Goalkeepers

    With the loss of Chris Konopka, one of Providence's top goalkeepers of all-time, the Friars will rely on junior Timothy Murray (Haverhill, Mass.). Murray started three games last season and posted a 1.33 goals against average and a .765 save percentage. He enjoyed his best performance at the BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinals in Cincinnati, where he recorded nine saves as the Friars upset the 15th-ranked Bobcats, 2-0. Freshman Jhojan Obando (Kissimmee, Fla.) comes to Providence after a successful high school career. Obando, who posted a 0.93 or lower goals against average in the last three years, served as team captain at Freedom High School over the last three seasons. Junior Damian LoBasso (River Vale, N.J.) will add depth on the Friar squad. LoBasso was a two-sport athlete (soccer and lacrosse) at River Vale High School where he led his squad to league titles in his last two seasons.

    Defense

    Last season the Friars finished sixth out of 16 teams in the BIG EAST, allowing just 1.00 goals per game. In addition, the 20 goals allowed by the Friars were the fewest since the 1990 squad yielded just 15 goals. Along with the three goalkeepers, the Friars will have a strong group at the back in 2007.

    Senior tri-captain Matt Otte (East Lyme, Conn.) and graduate student Scott Hankard (Glastonbury, Conn.) will lead the Friars at the back in 2007. Last season, Otte started 19 games and recorded one goal and one assist. Hankard, who red-shirted the 2006 season, will add to the team's depth and bring a wealth of experience at the back. He played in just two matches last season as a result of an injury, but he will look to return to the form of the 2005 campaign when he helped the Friars to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1983.

    Kevin Neumen (Miller Place, N.Y.) also will play a key role as one of team's central defenders. He was the top scoring defender last season, tallying three goals, including one game winner. He also added two assists.

    Justin Kahle (Oceanport, N.J.) enjoyed a strong freshman season at the back for the Friars and will be looked upon for continued improvement. He was one of five Friars to start every match. In addition, he recorded five assists, four of which came in BIG EAST contests. His five assists ranked him tied for first on the team.

    During his freshman season Toussaint McClure (Atlanta, Ga.) battled through an injury in the first half of the season, but he rebounded to play a key role in PC's successful campaign. McClure played in 12 matches and started three, including the NCAA Tournament game against Hoftra.

    Sophomore A.J. Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.) and freshman Nathan McKeever (Lilburn, Ga.) will add depth to the defense. Brown did not play in his freshman season in 2006, but is poised to contribute in 2007. Mckeever joins the PC program after a stellar high school career. He was a two-year captain at Brookwood High School and was named the Defensive MVP at the All-Star Game by the Georgia Soccer Coaches Association. He also was named AAAAA Student-Athlete of the Year in the state of Georgia.

    Red-shirt sophomore Bryan Minogue (Miller Place, N.Y.) rounds out the list of defenders. Minogue captained the Miller Place High School team during his last two seasons and led the team to consecutive league titles. He will be looked upon to make an impression early in his collegiate career.

    Midfield

    One of the strengths of last season's team was its ability to counter attack and the Friar midfield played a big role in that process. Senior tri-captains Ryan Maduro (Bristol, R.I.) and Alex Bury (Shrewsbury, Mass.) will patrol the central midfield after both enjoyed stellar seasons in 2006.

    Maduro, who is one of the most gifted players to ever play at Providence, became the second Friar ever to earn NSCAA First Team All-America honors. He also earned First Team All-NSCAA Northeast Region honors and First Team All-BIG EAST accolades. He played in all 20 games and recorded three goals and four assists. Among many of Maduro's strengths is his ability to possess and distribute the ball and he'll be relied on to bring more of the same quality as well as leadership to help lead the way for the Friars in 2007.

    Bury is also a strong distributor of the ball, but last season he provided a scoring touch in crucial matches. He finished second on the team in goals scored (5) and points (12). Three of his five goals were game winners and two came off direct free kicks. Bury scored match winners against Villanova, Pittsburgh (overtime) and Seton Hall. With the experience and leadership of Bury and Maduro, this duo will makeup one of the strongest central midfields in the BIG EAST.

    Unheralded senior Michael Narciso (Livingston, N.J.) also had a solid season in 2006 at left midfield. Narciso, who started 19 of the 20 matches, recorded a career high four points (one goal and two assists) and will look to play a consistent brand of soccer again in 2007. Sophomore Sean Bahktiari (Hampstead, N.H.) did not see any action as a freshman in 2006, but will look to make of an impact this season as a midfielder or as a forward.

    Four freshmen will vie for playing time at midfield. Michael Pereira (London, Ontario), Matt Marcin (Wilmington, Del.), David Datilus (Linden, N.J.) and Nick Cianci (West Hartford, Conn.) will provide plenty of quality depth for the Friars.

    Pereira comes to Providence with a stellar soccer background. He has played at the high school (Catholic Central), youth club (FC Porto - Porto, Portugal; North London - Canada) and at the international youth (Canadian youth national team) levels. He was captain of Canada's youth soccer teams, including the U17 national squad that competed in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying rounds in 2005.

    Marcin, who was named Delaware Player of the Year, joins the Friars after a successful high school career. He finished his career with 85 goals and 40 assists. He also was tabbed as an NSCAA High School All-American during his senior season as he was the top scorer in Delaware.

    Datilus was a two-year captain at Linden High School and was a key figure for Ironbound F.C. as the team won five state titles. He also played on the New Jersey ODP squad. Cianci recorded 38 goals and 27 assists in four seasons at William H. Hall. In addition, he was a member of the Connecticut ODP team.

    Forwards

    Last season, the Friars amassed 31 goals, which marked the most by a PC team since 1988. Of those 31 goals, 14 were scored by PC forwards, including seven match winners. This season, the Friars frontline will have four strikers, who will be expected to provide a scoring punch.

    Leading the way for the Friars is senior Hadrien Toure (Lyon, France), who played in his first season at Providence in 2006 after transferring from ACC rival Boston College. Toure saw action in 19 games last season as he battled an injury toward the end of the year. He scored two goals, which proved to be game winners (against Sacred Heart and Rutgers). In addition, he finished tied for the team lead with five assists. His senior year should be even more productive as a set up man as he may also play wide in the midfield.

    Jonathan Medcalf (Tulsa, Okla.) came in as a freshman last season and quietly led the team in scoring with seven goals in 2006. He had three game winning tallies, including goals in consecutive triumphs at Marquette and at Holy Cross. He earned two BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors. Medcalf is expected to be a key contributor in 2007.

    Rounding the list of veteran forwards is sophomore Benjamin Wexler (Minnetonka, Minn.). Wexler saw action in 11 games and recorded one goal. He scored the first goal of his career in the Friars' 2-1 victory over 14th nationally ranked Brown University.

    Alex Redding (Newton, Mass.) is the lone freshman striker on the Friar team. Redding comes to Providence after receiving many accolades over the last few years. Among the most notable honors is being named Massachusetts High School Player of the Year and being tabbed as an NSCAA All-American. In his only season at Northfield Mount Hernon, Redding led his team to the 2006 Prep School Championship after the team totaled three victories the year before his arrival.

    Wrap Up

    With consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006, the Friars will look to continue to build on their recent success and catapult the program as one of the best in the BIG EAST Conference. The Friars return an experienced group from last season's team that recorded 13 wins and set a school mark with seven BIG EAST Conference triumphs. In addition to the 14 veterans returning, the Friars welcome a talented freshman class, who will look to help PC become a consistent contender on the regional and national levels in 2007 and beyond.


     

     

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