Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Look Into the 2011 Soccer Season

Photo Courtesy of Peter Hill
By Lauren Duda

The Orange men’s soccer team has certainly seen better days. Last year, the team only scored a total of 10 goals and finished with a mere two wins on the season. Overall, Syracuse went 2-10-5, with a 0-6-3 record in Big East play.

However, it seems that after several disappointing seasons, the men’s soccer team has finally found a glimmer of hope in its class of incoming recruits. This year, Syracuse will welcome a promising bunch of 18 quality freshmen and transfer students. The large group of recruits will bring some much-needed offensive skills to the table; something that Coach Ian McIntyre believes will help Syracuse restore its reputation in the Big East soccer conference.

Among the most notable recruits secured by the Orange are Ted Cribley and Louis Clark, both hailing from across the pond. Cribley, a junior midfielder from Sheffield, England, can be described as no less than a magnificent playmaker. During his years at Herkimer County Community College, Cribley was named a two-time NJCAA All-American and produced an astonishing 36 assists. Clark, a native of Brighton, England, is a sophomore forward who has an incredible ability to deliver goals when needed most. In his freshman year at Ashland University, Clark netted 15 goals and contributed five assists. Both Cribley and Clark will work with seasoned Orangemen Nick Roydhouse and Federico Agreda to create a much more productive offensive game.

Defensively, the Orange said goodbye to two of its graduating seniors at the end of last season: goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo and defender Justin Arena. To fill the void left in their absence, Syracuse has chosen two standout defensive recruits. Senior transfer Phil Boerger will step onto the team as goalie, while freshman Skylar Thomas will be added to the lineup of defenders. In his time at the University of Evansville, Boerger was a two-year starter and a 2008 All-MVC selection. Thomas, who hails from Pickering, Ontario, played for the Ajax U-18 Soccer Team and was invited to play with the Canadian U-18 National Team.

Aside from its strong recruiting class, Syracuse has even more cause to be optimistic for the 2011 season: schedule strength…or lack thereof.

In 2011, the Orange will face a lineup of mostly decent, but not outstanding teams. The Big East matchups in October will be the more important games for Syracuse, when they square off against teams like St. John’s, Villanova and Marquette.

In the Big East conference, the closest matchup for Syracuse will most likely be Cincinnati. Last year, the Bearcats finished the season with a 7-5-7 record overall, which, although not too impressive, is a vast improvement over recent years. Both teams are in a very similar position: after years of less-than-exemplary play, they are looking to their quality class of recruits to turn their respective situations around. It will be nothing less than exciting to see these two teams go head to head on October 22!

The most difficult game for the Orange will be against Louisville on October 8. The Cardinals are coming off of a tremendous season, where they finished in second place at the end of the NCAA tourney. The team took on soccer powerhouses such as UCLA and Dartmouth, leaving defeat in its wake. This year, Louisville is on a mission to return with a championship trophy. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how Syracuse fares against this larger foe.

It seems that in his second season at Syracuse, Coach McIntyre certainly has his work cut out for him. However, with a strong class of incoming recruits and balanced schedule strength, things are beginning to look up for the Orange. 

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