HAVERFORD, Pa. – The men’s soccer program from Haverford College celebrated its 2012 championship season Saturday night during the annual team banquet. Head coach Shane Rineer hosted the event which was highlighted by a keynote speech from former head coach David M. Felsen ’66.
Rineer’s 2012 squad captured the Fords’ first Centennial Conference championship in November by downing 10th-ranked Swarthmore College, 1-0, in the league tournament final on the Garnet’s home turf. The conference title was the program’s first since 1988 when Haverford captured the Middle Atlantic Conference crown under former coach Joe Amorim.
The 2012 squad went on to play in the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing past Wesleyan (Conn.) University on penalty kicks (4-2), following a 2-2 double-overtime draw, before falling to No. 5 Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-0, in round two of the national championship.
Qualifying for the NCAAs in 2012 marked the first time the Fords have advanced to nationals since 1980 when Stanley “Skip” Jarocki ’69 coached the squad. Prior to 1980, Felsen pushed two of his teams (1976, 1977) into the NCAA D-III tournament. As his 1976 team was the first to play in an NCAA tournament, the 2012 squad's efforts continued a thread of achievement by Haverford men's soccer.
Felsen congratulated Rineer and the team "on a fabulous season. Right now [the championship] means a lot to you. But in time it will mean much more, as long as you keep the stories alive."
The theme of Felsen's speech was of continuing the thread that began "32 years ago. How sweet this is tonight." The Haverford graduate and coach who compiled a 54-39-7 mark over seven years of leadership closed his time in front of Saturday's gathering with one final thought. "Let me say something simple and true: all of us here tonight are proud of the way the varsity team of 2012 represented Haverford soccer, and the College."
Rineer closed the banquet by honoring the five seniors who began their careers at Haverford with a 6-11 record but finished with a 12-8-1 mark, a Centennial title, and the program’s first appearance in the second round of an NCAA tournament. Trevor Barlowe, Julien Calas, Dan Garfing, Matt Gorski and Charlie Michele compiled a 37-31-5 four-year mark, qualifying for the Centennial tournament the past two seasons and both times playing into the championship game.
“This group of seniors has meant everything to our program,” said Rineer. “They helped turn the program around both on the field, with determination and grit, and off the field with the formation of a championship culture.”
“Each of our seniors played significant roles in our program and, because of that, will most certainly be missed. Needless to say, the returning players have big boots to fill,” concluded the second-year leader of the program.
As the seniors finished off Saturday's night's program, Gorski added a final thanks to his coach. "What we accomplished this season wouldn't have been possible with out you, thank you Coach Rineer."