Men's soccer looks to build upon record 2008 season

The Men's soccer team blasts a gola in a recent game against Bloomsberg.  The Marauders won the match 2-0.
The Men's soccer team blasts a gola in a recent game against Bloomsberg. The Marauders won the match 2-0.

The Marauder Men’s soccer team had a very successful 2008 campaign, going 18-3-1 and reached the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men’s Tournament where they tied Northern Kentucky 1-1 but eventually lost in Penalty Kick’s 5-4.

In 2008, Millersville ranked 12th in NCAA Division II in average attendance totaling 4,943 fans over 14 home games, an average of about 353 fans per game.

Last season, Millersville also went 10-0-0 in the PSAC East, outscoring their opponents 34-6 in those contests.

Two games proved hard to swallow for Millersville players, coaches, and student supporters alike.  The first being the PSAC Championship loss to the California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans.

The Marauders were defeated 3-2 on a goal by Cal’s Justin Taucher with just under 12 minutes to play.

The loss denied Millersville’s first ever PSAC title, and ended a nine-game winning streak that saw Millersville outscore opponents 25-7.

The second loss that will serve as motivation going into the season was the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals penalty-kick loss to Northern Kentucky.

It looked as if things were going Millersville’s way when sophomore midfielder Shane Seabrook tied the game at one with 5:57 remaining.

Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Langione’s diving fingertip save with about three minutes to play kept fans on their toes with hopes held high.

Then, with 28 seconds left in the contest senior Ryan Kiley nearly converted a shot into an empty Northern Kentucky net when one of their defenders seemingly came out of nowhere to clear the ball just before it went over the line.

The Marauders return 19 players from last year’s team and are looking toward a PSAC Championship and a further march into the NCAA Tournament.

Millersville lost forward Sean McLaughlin, midfielder Ryan Kiley and defenseman Neil Peterson, and Matthew Procopio to graduation.
“[To be successful] we’re going to have to have [Kyle] Loughliin and [Dan] Prian fill Sean McLaughlin’s shoes,” junior defender Kevin?Hennessey said.  “They’ve done it so far.”

With the experience coming back, expect bigger and better things from the number three ranked Marauders.

The 2009 season started with a 4-3 home victory over Philadelphia University.

Sophomore Pat Baffuto registered two goals for the Marauders while junior Matt Wilson and freshman Adam Keller netted the other pair of goals.

The second game of 2009 was a PSAC East battle with East Stroudsburg University which saw senior Anthony Pagnotti score the lone goal of the 1-0 win at ESU.

This past Saturday, the Marauders defeated Bloomsburg, in front of a crowd of 800 at Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium, 2-0.

Junior Kyle Loughlin and sophomore substitution Aaron Roland scored the goals for the Marauders.

This week the Marauders take a trip to West Chester for a PSAC East game against West Chester, and come home on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. game against Molloy College.

“We just need the defense to continue to play solid,” Hennessey said.  “We have a good string of shutouts going that we would like to continue which will greatly assist our ranking down the road.”

Kyle Loughlin (1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points) leads the team in points. Baffuto (2 goals and 4 points), Roland, Wilson, senior Anthony Pagnotti, and freshman Adam Keller (1 goal and 2 points each) all have made their contributions felt thus far for Millersville.

2008 was a season where the Marauders exceeded all expectations and not only won the PSAC East, but reached the program’s first ever PSAC Championship Game and qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Although the accomplishments of last season’s remarkable run are not to be downplayed or overlooked, this year’s Marauder team surely would like to have its own identity.

In search of their own identity this Marauder team also wants to make sure they do not get too full of themselves because of their national ranking.

The team realizes that while it is most definitely a bonus to recognized on the national scale, it does not mean that comes without responsibility.

“Coach Widdowson has made sure our heads are grounded,” Hennessey said.  “He lets us know that the rankings don’t mean anything until the end of the season.”

While the expectations are high, the team deserves high praise for their hard work so far.  It should be a great season for the Marauder men’s soccer team