August 29, 2013

Season Preview: Men's soccer ready for title defense

HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team made program history in 2012 as it captured the Centennial Conference title for the first time. Do not expect the Fords to rest on their laurels as the 2013 squad is primed to add another memorable chapter to the annals as it aims to defend the conference crown and return to the NCAA tournament.

Coach Shane Rineer acknowledges expectations will be high this year. "Coming off the team's first Centennial championship and first NCAA tournament berth in 33 years, people are expecting a lot out of this group, " said Rineer. "It is the first time we are playing with such expectations so I am looking to see how we respond to the adversity we face this year."

The Fords, picked to finish second in the Centennial's preseason poll of conference coaches, will counter expectations and adversity with a battle-tested roster that features eight returning starters. Nowhere is that veteran savvy more apparent than Haverford's defense where seniors Adam Morollo, Jamie Reingruber and Matt Johnson spearhead a unit that held its opponents to two goals or less in all but two games last season. Morollo and Reingruber earned honorable mention all-conference recognition in 2012 and Johnson has started every game of his career. Another senior Nick Kahn will battle freshman Sam Miller for playing time in goal.

Three newcomers invigorated the Haverford attack in 2012 as Brady Seitz (18 points), Sam Yarosh (14) and Colin Seitz (12) all reached double figures in points in their first year in the program. The crafty trio returns looking to build off successful freshmen campaigns that caused headaches for coaches around the conference. Look for seniors David Robinson and Colin Lubelczyk to also be key contributors. Robinson notched two clutch goals in 2011 conference tournament action and was one of four players to convert in the shootout against Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.

Rineer is also high on this year's additions to the program. "Our freshmen will add a ton of depth," declared the third-year head coach. "It is a skilled group with the ability to make an immediate impact. We are looking forward to not only seeing what they can add to our program, but also to the Haverford community."

The roster once again boasts significant talent but Rineer points out that the key to the Fords' success might lie with the intangibles that come from having worn the Haverford uniform for four years. "Watch out for the senior class," said Rineer. "There are nine seniors and their leadership can make a difference."

The 2013 season begins on Aug. 30 as the Fords take on host Drew University as part of the two-day Drew Fall Festival. McDaniel College visits Walton Field on Sept. 21 in the conference opener for both clubs.