By Miguel Gonzales
The Lions capped off last season with a four-game winning streak in conference play before an overtime loss to Rowan University. The loss ultimately led to a seventh-place finish in the NJAC standings.
With 10 seniors returning to the pitch — including the team’s top scorer, midfielder Nick Costelloe — the Lions are looking to improve their 4-5 record against conference opponents. The Lions are ranked No. 7 in the annual NJAC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches poll, behind nearby contenders, such as Montclair State and Rowan universities.
On the front of the pitch, senior forward Thomas Hogue, sophomore midfielder Nick Sample and Costelloe will lead the offense.
Meanwhile, senior goalie Jake Nesteruk, who completed 59 saves last season, will coordinate a young defensive end with sophomores Joerg Jauck and Nick Provenzano.
Coach George Nazario enters his 22nd year with the Lions, as he seeks their first NJAC tournament appearance since 2013.
Last May, Nazario was inducted to the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame for his remarkable playing career.
The Lions will begin the season with a trip to Carlisle, Pa., for a matchup against Dickinson College on Friday, Sept. 2. Then they face the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays on Saturday, Sept. 3.
Afterwards, the Lions will head back to the friendly confines of the soccer complex to compete in the College’s Adidas Classic tournament against Keystone College and Whitworth University on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11.
The Lions are scheduled to play their first conference away match in Wayne, N.J., against the William Paterson University Pioneers on Saturday, Sept. 17.