Men’s Soccer Looking to Take the Next Step
The Pirate’s men’s soccer team wrapped up pre-season action on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Bloomfield. Senior Kai Greene recorded a hat trick, topping off a strong pre-season where he recorded five goals in two matches.
Senior Victor Manosalvas assisted on all three Greene goals on Saturday and is heads into the regular season after a triumphant summer where he was named MVP of the National Premier Soccer League. Manosalvas collected 12 goals and seven assists this summer playing for the Red Bulls Under-23 team, who had a perfect season going 12-0 and capturing the league championship. He led all Pirates in assists last year with five. He and last year’s leading goal scorer sophomore Samuel Geiler will be expected to help lead the attack offensively for the blue and white in 2014.
Sophomore goalkeeper, Julian Spindler yielded one goal in 55 minutes of play in the Pirate’s win on Saturday. Spindler will look to assume the role as starting net minder yet again, following a season where he recorded 6 wins, including two shut outs, 9 losses and 2 draws.
Manosalvas and Greene will headline a senior-heavy team consisting of 11 seniors including team captains Mateusz Brela and Bolu Akinyode. Coach Echeverry though believes leadership can come from more than just their two captains. “You don’t need an armband to be one of the leaders of the team,” Echeverry said.
Kai Greene may be living proof of the coach’s message as a player who is expected to have an expanded role as an offensive threat and leader. “He’s a quiet leader,” Echeverry said. “His hard work on the field, and his quiet demeanor to just get the job done is extremely important to our success.”
Echeverry also believes he can help fill some of the team’s offensive voids following the loss of forwards, Max Garcia and George Velasquez who graduated. “We believe Kai has some special abilities between his soccer mind and his athleticism,” he said.
While the pre-season saw the Hall defeat Rider 3-2 and Bloomfield 3-1, there are still some areas where Echeverry wants to see improvement. “Defensively, we need to be a little bit sharper in our shape,” he said. “We’ve given up some silly goals because of lack of concentration, not necessarily other teams breaking us down.”
Another area the Pirate’s will need to address is the team’s lack of success on the road going 1-6-1 last year. “If you can’t win on the road, you can’t be a team that will be in the post-season,” Echeverry said. “We’ve had some decent performances and some pretty poor ones, and in our decent ones we haven’t been able to pull off some of the wins where we were close.”
The Hall will need to rectify its road woes from last season if they want to start the season on the right side of the ball, the Pirates will play four of their first six away, beginning with their season-opener in Kingston, R.I. to take on the University of Rhode Island Rams. Kickoff is set for Friday’s opener is 7 p.m.