2013 Men’s Soccer Season Preview
After narrowly missing out on the last two Presidents’ Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer tournaments, Head Coach Ian McDonald is primed to lead a solid nucleus of veteran players back to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Tournament in 2013.
McDonald is back for his 23rd season at the helm of the W&J men’s soccer program. Last season, McDonald made history by earning his 200th career coaching victory following a 2-1 win over Franciscan.
The Presidents lose just two starters from a 2012 squad that finished 4-3-1 in conference play, one spot out of qualifying for a postseason berth. With a core group of nine starters and the prospects of seven talented newcomers, McDonald and his squad will focus in on bringing a title back to the W&J campus.
One area McDonald feels confident in is the offensive end of the field. Senior forward Cody Peddicord and junior forward Brian Hanna finished as the top two goal producers in 2012 and both high-scoring players earned selections to the PAC all-conference team. Peddicord and Hanna combined to score 14 goals.
Seniors Sam Sestito and Thad Piscatelli also look to provide an offensive touch along with their veteran leadership on and off the pitch. Sestito endured lingering effects last year from an injury suffered during his sophomore season, and hopes to restore the form he displayed his freshman year, where he earned an All-PAC honorable mention. Piscatelli is a quick, hard-working forward who has provided a scoring punch off the bench throughout his career. Sophomores Adam Suter and Paul Hann played well as reserves last year and will be pushing for more time up front or in the midfield position.
W&J loses All-PAC performer Jimmy Gante as its top midfielder, but McDonald looks for junior Connor McKenzie to return as a key contributor. McKenzie saw a strong season along the Presidents’ backline last year cut short by injury. Junior Paul Boerema showed flashes of all-conference type play last season, while classmates Chris Watson, Dylan Small and Kyle Weidman will all be in the mix for significant playing time.
Holding down the center back positions once more will be senior Greg Musgnug and junior Nick Vecchio. Both played and started in all 16 games last season and will be expected to provide direction and leadership. The remaining defensive spots should be a competitive affair between juniors James Calvert, who also saw time at midfield last season, and Roman Vukmanovich, sophomore Anthony Sorco and a few newcomers once the team’s preseason camp begins Aug. 18.
Second team All-PAC goalkeeper Jon Best will be back between the pipes for W&J after posting career bests totals of four shutouts and a 1.34 goals against average. The Presidents’ goalkeeping position seems deep as Best will by pushed by sophomore Josh Winters and junior transfer Ben Wilt (SUNY-Brockport). Wilt was recruited by the Presidents out of Hampton High School before his two years on the upstate New York campus.
McDonald also believes that the Presidents’ six-member freshman class is loaded with quality talent. W&J opens the 2013 regular season campaign at Alexandre Stadium Aug. 31 with a non-conference matchup against Mount Aloysius slated for 6:00 pm.