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Braves aim for post season play
High expectations will be swarming the 2001 Quinnipiac Men’s Soccer Team this fall. 15 returning lettermen and a number of recruits will be expected to exceed the best finish since the Braves entered the Northeast Conference.
After coming off a year that saw the team make the NEC playoffs for the first time, the Braves will try to go much deeper this year.
Ninth year head coach Victor Santos feels confident of his teams’ chances. “We have a good nucleus,” Santos said. “This team should do very well.”
The Braves are playing a competitive 17-game schedule that includes 10 NEC games. In addition, Quinnipiac will host the 2001 NEC Men’s Soccer Championships, which surely is an advantage, should the Braves make it that far.
The team starts the season playing on the road in the University of Rhode Island Invitational with matches against Seina and Maine. A four-game streak of matches at home in October should allow Quinnipiac to gear up for the stretch run.
The last regular season match of the year will be versus Providence, proceeded by the NEC Championship in November. “All our conference games are important,” Santos said. “Those will be our deciding factor this season.”
The Braves will try to improve upon a 7-7-2 record last year with a mix of strong offensive production and a solid defense.
Junior forward Everson Maciel, a First Team All-NEC selection in 2000, highlights an explosive offense. For this team to advance, he must maintain his torrid pace from a year ago, where he had 36 points on 14 goals and eight assists.
Maciel will be joined by junior Paul Dworak (13 points last year), transfer students, Alex de Faria and Alyrio Howard, and freshman Alden Beslagic. With this offense, production is expected to increase dramatically.
The midfield is loaded with veteran presence. Led by the team captain Sam Lopes, with fellow senior Doug Domingues, both adding four points apiece last year. Juniors Jay Mammen and Peter Kurys, sophomore Wojceich Kurys, and freshman Derek Craser and Dominic Popolozio will join them.
A year ago, solid defense helped guide the strong offense. Despite losing talent, Quinnpiac’s defense still has a veteran feel.
Seniors Eric DaCosta and Eric Fulcher and junior Rob Stoutenberg must show leadership, while sophomores Jared DiLorenzo and Vinnie Carannante will add depth.
Junior transfer Vinnie Vial will also try to be a presence in the backfield.
Junior goalkeeper Rob Pinto will mind the net, while junior transfer Kevin Kelly will provide depth at the position.
“Nothing least from making the conference playoffs, winning them and going to the NCAA tournament will be good enough,” Santos said.
With the offense installed, the defense will need to play big this year. A mixture of veterans and freshman, as well as transfers will try to propel Quinnipiac through the NEC and into the NCAA championships.