Aug. 28, 2008
The Providence College men's soccer team is gradually building a tradition of excellence. The Friars, who have earned a school record three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths under the guidance of ninth year Head Coach Chaka Daley, will look to return to the NCAA's for the fourth consecutive season and fifth overall. Last season, Providence posted a 9-8-2 overall record and finished fourth in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 5-4-2 mark. It marked the Friars' first back-to-back winning seasons in the league. The Friars advanced to the BIG EAST Championship for the fifth time in the last six years and earned another trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2008 team will look to continue that tradition as they return seven starters from last season's team.
Timothy Murray (Haverhill, Mass.) returns for his senior year as the leader between the posts. In his first season as a starter, Murray played in all 19 games last season and posted a 1.22 goals against average and a .733 save percentage. He kept Boston College scoreless on October 16 to help lead the Friars to their first win over the Eagles since 1999. For his effort against BC, he was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on October 22. Providence will have plenty of depth at the goalkeeping position. Sophomore Jhojan Obando (Kissimmee, Fla.), who served as a back-up last season, is poised to make an impact this season after a solid spring season. Freshmen Oliver Blum (North Yarmouth, Maine) and Byron Regester (Westerville, Ohio) make up the rest of the Providence goalkeeping crew. Blum comes to Providence after a successful high school career in which he posted a 26-4-3 career record and finished with a .947 save percentage. Blum was named the 2007 Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and earned NSCAA High School All-America honors. Regester played at DeSales High School where he served as the team captain in the last two years. Last season, he posted an 18-1-2 record, including an Ohio record 14 shutouts. In addition, Regester played for the Columbus Crew of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and led his squad to a third place finish in the country.
The Friars were among the top eight out of 16 teams in the BIG EAST last season, allowing just 1.22 goals per contest. Despite the loss of Matt Otte, the Friars will have a solid presence in front of their goalkeeper. Junior Justin Kahle (Oceanport, N.J.) will lead the Friars in the back. Kahle led all defenders in scoring during the 2007 season as he recorded two goals and three assists. Senior Kevin Neumen (Miller Place, N.Y) has been a mainstay in the back for the Friars over the last three seasons. He will be looked upon to provide consistent contributions in his final season at Providence. Junior A.J. Brown saw his first action last season as he looks to be more of a contributor in 2008. Sophomores Nathan McKeever (Lilburn, Ga.) and Michael Daly (Hicksville, N.Y.) as well as junior Bryan Minogue (Miller Place, N.Y.) will add a great deal of depth in the back for the Friars. John Raley (St. Inigoes, Md.) is the lone freshman defender on the Friar squad. Raley was a standout at St. Mary's Ryken High School where he captained the team during the last three seasons and recorded 45 goals and 14 assists during that span. Raley also played for the Baltimore Bays of the U.S. Soccer Development League and helped lead the Bays to the national title.
In addition to depth in the back, the Friars will have plenty of it at midfield as well. Ryan Maduro (Bristol, R.I.) will look to make the most out of his final season at Providence. The 2006 NSCAA First Team All-American became the first Friar ever to garner consecutive All-BIG EAST First Team honors last season. As one of the tri-captains last season, Maduro led the team in scoring with a career-high five goals and six assists. He will be looked upon to provide leadership and skill to the midfield. Michael Narciso (Livingston, N.J.), who also will be entering his final season at Providence, is coming off a strong 2007 campaign in which he scored a career-high two goals and added one assist while playing on the right side. Narciso also will provide depth at the back this season. As freshmen last season Matt Marcin (Wilmington, Del.) and Michael Pereira (London, Ontario) gained experience as they started 19 and 15 games, respectively. Marcin scored three goals and had one assist, while Pereira had one assist. The duo will be expected to continue to improve and solidify the midfield. Nick Cianci (West Hartford, Conn.) also had an impressive first season at Providence. Cianci was a spark plug off the bench as he had three assists and scored the equalizer against Notre Dame on October 28. Junior Sean Bakhtiari (Hampstead, N.H.) and sophomore David Datilus (Linden, N.J.) round out the list of veterans on the midfield. The duo will look to continue to improve and provide depth. The Friars welcome five newcomers to the midfield. Roy Sandeman (Edinburgh, Scotland) joins the Friar program after playing at Leeds University, where he served as a team captain. In addition to playing midfield, Sandeman may see time as a defender. Andrew Sousa (Fall River, Mass.) comes to Providence after playing one year at Limestone College where he recorded one goal and two assists in 15 games. Freshmen Daniel Fabian (Southbury, Mass.), Giuseppe Guerriero (Essex, Mass.) and Chris Stoker (Holden, Mass.) round out the list of midfielders. Fabian played at Pomperaug High School where he recorded 31 career goals and 62 assists in four years. Guerriero was a member of the Manchester- Essex High School team, where he scored 26 goals in his senior season. In four years at St. John's High School, Stoker scored 36 goals and added 31 assists.
The Friars will have speed and skill up top as senior Timothy Ritter (Weston, Mass.) and sophomore Alex Redding (Newton, Mass.) will create havoc for opposing teams. Ritter, who did not play last season, had four goals and four assists in 2006 and will look to regain the form that made him one of the most dangerous strikers in the league. He was named to the All-BIG EAST Third Team in 2006. In his first season Providence, Redding had three goals and one assist, including the game winner in a 1-0 victory at Boston College on October 16. He also scored the overtime winner in a crucial 3-2 victory over Seton Hall that helped the Friars clinch a home BIG EAST Championship First Round match.
With depth at every position, the 2008 Providence squad will look to make a run at the BIG EAST title and a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. As with any program, Providence strives for consistency and the Friars will look to build on their successes from previous seasons and carry it on to 2008.