Men’s soccer aims high, shoots for NCAA tourney

Senior Anthony DiPalmo (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Goals need to be made both on and off the field in soccer. For the men’s soccer team, their 2010 season ended in a 1-0 game against Kean University in the New Jersey Athletic Conference title game. But with an overall record of 9-6-4 and a conference record of 7-1-1, the Lions are ready to achieve even more in the 2011 season.

“The goal is to make the NCAA tournament,” said head coach George Nazario. “The key to success is simple. We need to start off well and play well against the non-conference teams. We need to be better than 2-5 last year.”

The team was selected to finish second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) behind Montclair State University, according to the 2011 NJAC coaches’ poll. George Nazario was named the 2010 NJAC Coach of the Year and knows what to do this fall with an experienced team.

This year’s team is led by senior forward Ray Nelan. Nelan was a First Team All-NJAC selection last year and led the Lions with seven goals and 14 points. Joining Nelan to lead the offensive barrage are seniors Chris Pisano, Luigi Moriello and Anthony DiPalmo.

“I think Chris Pisano is one player who will take the biggest step,” Nazario said. “He gets up and down the field quickly, and most of all his versatility is huge for the team’s success.”

Defensively, juniors Vince McEnroe and Ryan O’Donnell return to control the Lion’s backfield, both of which were NJAC honorable mentions last season. Junior goalkeepers Adam Friedman and Aaron Utman will compete for minutes. Not necessarily a bad problem to have considering the talents of both: Friedman won six games in 10 starts, while allowing 1.34 goals per game; Utman played just as well with a team-high 27 saves in eight starts, two of which were shutouts.

The Lions kick off their 2011 season on Sept. 3 against Keene State College as part of the Keene State College Tournament. The men’s team makes its home debut against Stevens Institute of Technology on Sept. 14.

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