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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: September 4, 2012
WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College men's soccer team will look for a fourth straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoff bid and aim to defend their Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) title when the 2012 season begins Saturday.
The Mules, who finished 7-7-1 overall in 2011, will play at Connecticut College on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the season and league opener.
Colby won the CBB title with victories over Bowdoin (2-0) and the Bobcats (3-2). The Mules played well on the road during the season --- winning the game against the Polar Bears, knocking off then 18th-ranked Middlebury in overtime (1-0), and losing just 1-0 to a strong Williams squad. Colby also was 2-0-1 in overtime contests.
Head coach Mark Serdjenian, back for his 37th season with the Mules, earned his 250th career win at Colby in a 4-0 victory over Southern Maine last year.
Senior midfielder Andrew Meisel (Newtown, Conn.), who will captain the team along with senior back Nick Nowak (Medfield, Mass.), was an All-New England and All-NESCAC selection with three goals and four assists for 10 points from his central midfield position.
Colby is loaded with talent in the midfield. Nick Aubin (Simsbury, Conn.) led the Mules in scoring two years ago and had two goals and three assists last year. Chris Pratt (Wellesley, Mass.), who is tough in the air on headers, also returns after starting all 15 games last year. Grey Benjamin (Medway, Mass.), Keith Chernin (Brookline, Mass.), Donny MacMaster (Madison, N.J.), and Chris Roccotagliata (Roslyn, N.Y.) also return in the midfield. MacMaster, a senior, missed all but two games a year ago with an injury.
Sophomore midfielder Matt Ayers (Lewisburg, Pa.) and first-years Gray Louis (Wellesley, Mass.), Dan Maurer (Burnsville, Minn.), Tim Stanton (Newton, Mass.), and Eric Nesto (Weston, Mass.) bring depth to an already strong position.
Nowak will be the leader in back after the graduation loss of co-captains and defenders Matt Boyes-Watson and Cory Hendrickson. Jonathan Sommer (Gauting, Germany), a junior, is the other starter returning on defense. Jon Stronach (Concord, Mass., 2 goals, 2 assists) and Andrew Woonton (Boxford, Mass.) will move from the midfield to a defender spot, while Jon Bengtson (Hebron, Conn.) also returns. First-year Dan Vogel (Lexington, Mass.) also will help in back.
Colby has no shortage of goalkeepers, with four on the roster. However, 2011 keeper Ben Joslin graduated and the Mules will be inexperienced in net. Peter Quayle (Lincoln, Mass.) played 175 minutes last year and Cody Funkhouser (Hopewell, N.J.) and Josh Richards (Newton, Mass.) each saw about 20 minutes. First-year goalkeeper Oliver Fornell (Locust Valley, N.Y.) also will battle for minutes.
Finding consistent scoring will be a key for Colby this season. Nate Tolman (Scarborough, Maine) is the leading returning scorer on the forward line with one goal and two assists. Charlie Dupee (Portland, Maine) and Jake Lukach (Easton, Conn.) return as well. First-year players Matt Giron (Barrington, R.I.) and Yinka Onayemi (Crete, Ill.) will look for minutes.
Colby earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award for the 11th straight season. Colby has the longest streak of being honored with the academic award than any other men's soccer team in the conference.