WRITTEN BY ROBERT DEVITA
After an amazing 2013 season, the St. Francis Terriers men’s soccer team looks to have another memorable year in 2014. A great amount of work will need to be done in order to get back on top, but this team has the makeup that is needed to win the NEC once again.
It is almost that time of year again, the 2014 NCAA soccer season is set to kickoff this week and the St. Francis Terriers men’s soccer team will be looking to defend their NEC championship here in 2014. This year will be a great test for the team as they will be marked men all season long since they are the defending NEC champions.
2013 was a year to remember for the Terriers, on the year they went (12-6-1) overall and (4-3) in NEC play which was good enough for fourth place in the conference.Once the conference tournament started this team took it up a notch as they knocked off the number one-seeded Central Connecticut State to get to the championship game. Then they defeated the number three-seeded Bryant to capture their first NEC championship since 1998.
This year they hope to have similar results, but it sure won’t be easy. This team is very young; their roster features eight freshmen which means there will be a great deal of learning for these younger guys. The great thing about this team is that they have a guy like senior captain Andy Cormack to anchor the ship. Cormack is one of the best players in the conference and more importantly he is the heart and soul of the Terriers.
Cormack racked up the accolades last season he was named to the All-NSCAA First Team, All-NEC Tournament Team, All-NEC Second Team, College Sports Madness All-NEC Second Team and College Sports Madness Preseason All-NEC Second Team. Not to mention he scored the game winning goal in the NEC championship game which gave the Terriers a 3-2 win in overtime.
It was some season for the captain and if 2014 is anything like 2013 Terriers’ fans will be more than happy. The Terriers will also need their other captain red-shirt senior Riccardo Milano to step up and lead this team with Cormack. Last season this team was filled with veterans so leadership was never an issue, now that the team is a bit younger these guys will have lead by example, which they have done from day one.
This team is known for their defense and they will have to continue to live by that motto if they are going to be successful this season. There is an old saying that “defense wins championships” and the Terriers proved that is very true last season. They were a solid defensive team all season long and their defense led to some great offensive opportunities.
This team will certainly miss forward Kevin Correa who transferred to the University of New Mexico. He is a prolific scorer and led this team with 13 goals and six assists last season. They need someone to step up and fill his role, those are some huge shoes to fill but someone has to do it if this team wants to be as successful as they were last season.
It’s a long season and the Terriers hit the pitch for the first time Friday night when they go on the road to take on Saint Joseph’s University. This team will be tested all season long and nothing will come easy for the Terriers in 2014. But you better believe that Coach Tom Giovatto will have his team ready to compete day in and day out in hope of repeating as NEC champions.