Men's Soccer Hosts Hartwick on Friday in 2012 Season Opener
Aug. 17, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - The men's soccer team will bid farewell to preseason workouts and summer camps on August 24 when it welcomes Hartwick to Finnesey Field to open up the 2012 season. Video streaming of the game will be available for Hawks' All-Access on SJUHawks.com. A monthly subscription for Hawks All-Access is $9.95 while an All-Access yearly subscription is $79.95. To subscribe, click here. Live stats can also be accessed on the site through Gametracker.
Returning just two seniors, the team will be the youngest in the Atlantic 10 conference. However, with the return of 18 sophomores and juniors combined, the Hawks, under the direction of third-year head coach Don D'Ambra, will look to mesh an abundance of young talent with a solid core of experience.
"The overall fitness level and strength of the team has made very good improvements, and our staff and players are so excited to get started this season," said D'Ambra. "Our younger players have matured both physically and mentally, which should translate to better execution on the field. Our team has dramatically improved in its tactical sense of the game, which makes things much easier when competing."
Leading the Hawks will be a veteran core of tri-captains. Seniors Tim Brennan and Andrew D'Ottavi and junior Pat McGlynn demonstrate the commitment, devotion, and work ethic that it will take to lead this young team to victory.
As a 2011 Atlantic 10 All-Academic selection, Brennan will serve as a leader on the defensive end. Referred to by D'Ambra as "one of the most consistent players on the field," the three-year starter has played in all 51 games over the course of his past three seasons at Hawk Hill while starting 48 times. In the past two seasons, Brennan played a defensive role as an outside back, and the coaching staff appreciates his dedicated ability to be an all-around player.
"He is versatile and may see some time as a defensive midfielder," said D'Ambra. "He leads by example and has an excellent work ethic."
Returning the top five scorers from last season, SJU will look to build on the foundation that these players have created. Sophomore forward Alex Critzos returns to the team as last season's leading goal scorer, having been extremely opportunistic with his chances. His knowledge of the game will have a profound effect on the Hawks offense this season.
"Alex has learned a lot in the past year," says D'Ambra of his offensive standout. "We are excited about his potential."
Critzos and sophomore midfielder Jake Nelson combined for 16 points last season, contributing eight points apiece. Nelson netted three goals and tallied two assists in his freshman campaign as a Hawk, and he started in all 17 games.
According to D'Ambra, Nelson and sophomore forward Mike Glazer were "solid players for the team last year who have made very good improvements in the off season." Glazer started 16 of his 17 total games played last season and led the team with 26 shot attempts.
"We expect good things from them," D'Ambra adds of his hard-working trio of sophomores as the Hawks will look to continue progress on the offensive side of the ball.
Rounding out the offense will be junior forward Ryan McFadden, who played in 14 games last season and had an assist in an SJU win over Army.
Third-year starter McGlynn will lead the charge at midfield. McGlynn has proved himself an asset to the team, recording three points, one goal, and one assist in each of his first two seasons at Saint Joseph's while starting all 34 games.
Paired with the seniors, D'Ambra credits McGlynn for his consistency in both a devoted work ethic and solid leadership qualities, stating, "Pat is a starting midfielder who has shown to provide good energy and is very active on the field."
Junior Jimmy Reilly is also back from last year's squad having shown an undeniable competitive edge in 16 games. Sophomores Michael Rumel and Edward D'Amelio and freshmen Tim Lazorko, Adam Wissner, and Luke Rosescu will compete for minutes in the midfield to help round out a potentially dangerous and efficient offense.
Of his freshmen midfielders, Coach D'Ambra states, "Timmy is a well-rounded player who can defend and attack. Adam has a good sense of the game, works hard, makes good decisions, and will be solid defensively, and Luke is a crafty and skillful play maker that will bring creativity to our team."
Although veterans return to the Hawk attack with an abundance of talent and experience, D'Ambra spent the offseason addressing the needs on the offensive end by focusing on replenishment through the addition of more offensive depth. Ryan Kelly is a transfer forward from Marshall University that brings intensity and urgency to make plays on the field.
"Ryan played with us in the spring and did a nice job of creating scoring chances in the offensive third," said D'Ambra.
Freshmen forwards Emmanuel Temeh and Mike Serban add speed and raw talent to an offense that began to see an increase in production last year. D'Ambra appreciates that the quick and athletic Temeh is "eager to learn and is excited to be a part of the program" and acknowledges his potential and good sense around the goal. Serban's strength, athleticism, and strong desire to score goals will stand out during his freshman campaign.
Joining Brennan on the defensive end will be junior Brendan Reilly, whose hard-nosed style of play proved to be an integral part of last season. A defensive starter yet offensive threat, the 2011 Soccer Six Player of the Week selection was responsible for burying the game-winning goal in an overtime victory at St. Bonaventure, locking up the Hawk's second victory of 2011.
Sophomore Tommy Brooks returns as a starter on defense having shown a real sense of grit and relentless work ethic throughout the progression of his freshman season. Brooks earned his way to become a starting player for the team as he went through a transition from a defensive midfielder in the fall to a central defensive role this past spring.
"Tommy is versatile tactically so we look to plan to use him in a couple different positions," added D'Ambra of his sophomore defender.
A second sophomore trio of Dylan Andrews, Josh Edgar, and Brandon Stevis will help bolster the defense. These Hawk defenders have made large improvements working on their game from just a season ago and will contribute on the defensive back line.
"Dylan, Josh, and Brandan have made steady improvements in the off-season," D'Ambra explained, "and I expect these players to compete for starting positions or more significant playing time."
Also in the mix for the defense is Jake Mulinge, a transfer defender from FDU whose athleticism and speed will allow him to compete for significant playing time as well as bring additional experience to the team. A trio of junior veterans in third-year players Colin Reilly, Brian Reynolds, and Connor Widerman will round out the defense.
"Defensively, we have a very intelligent back line," praised D'Ambra, "and hopefully they can establish a cohesiveness with one another."
At the reigns of the defense in goal this season will be none other than the team's 2011 Most Outstanding Player: D'Ottavi. The veteran returns for his third season in the net for the Hawks. D'Ottavi made a mark in Atlantic 10 standings last season as he ranked second in the conference in saves (95) and third in saves per game (6.33) while his contribution to a team total 113 saves helped to rank SJU third in the A10 in the category of total saves. The senior goalkeeper will be a key part to the team's success, and D'Ambra believes that his senior's dedicated mentality will pave the way for this young Hawk squad.
"It's Andrew's positive attitude and strong work ethic that make him a captain. His steady play has made an impact on several games for us," said D'Ambra.
After a tough season in 2011, Coach D'Ambra will look for contributions from everyone, from his enthusiastic, willing-to-learn freshmen to his experienced, knowledgable veteran seniors along with the core group of talented juniors and sophomores in between. From the coaching staff to the players, the Hawks look forward to the opportunities that will present themselves along the way of another Saint Joseph's men's soccer season.
"We are very excited with our players' potential and look to see good things from them this upcoming season," said D'Ambra.