The Millersville Men’s Soccer Team begins its road back to another potential playoff birth, with many reasons to be confident that they will repeat last year’s feat.
This year the bar is set significantly higher. Last year’s team pushed their way into the playoffs, despite the overwhelming youth within the side, and now the team feels as if they are expected to be in the playoffs once again.
“Last year we felt that we gelled and clicked as a team, and internally we believed that we had good talent and a successful year. Externally, however, it may have appeared that our very young team overachieved. Reflecting on last year’s side, expectations are higher, our minimum expectations are the playoffs,” said Coach Steve Widdowson, who was named Conference Coach of the Year last season.
Coach Widdowson is excited with his freshman group of players; however the team is led by seniors, Sean McLaughlin and Ryan Kiley. McLaughlin is a forward who led the team in goals (9) and assists last season, and was nominated a first team Pennsylvania State Athletic Committee (PSAC) All Conference player.
Kiley is a left sided player who finished second behind McLaughlin in scoring (7) last season.
Complimenting these two attack-minded players is returning sophomore Kyle Loughlin, who was a main piece to the team’s playoff run, adding four goals throughout the last season.
The good mixture of upper and lower class players provide adequate experience and energy to the team.
The added freshmen this season bring extended depth and strength to the team. They will undoubtedly contribute to the team’s success this season.
Some of these key additions include center back John Claffy and defending center midfielder Adam Santeusanio, who fill starting roles this season. Midfielder Ethan Daubert and Pat Baffuto also seek to shine in their freshman year.
Overall, the freshman class representing this season’s squad will be the determining factors on how well the team produces on the pitch.
The team runs a traditional 4-4-2 formation, accompanied by a free-flowing, fast-paced style of attack.
Their style of play dictates a possession oriented game plan, and enables the team to control the rhythm of the game.
“We play a high tempo game. Attack at pace, find the strikers early, and create timely chances.
We play a quick, short-passing game. The key to our success is possession with purpose,” Coach Widdowson said.
The team kicked off its season against Holy Family, where Millersville came out victorious, 2-0.
The game was the first of two games the Marauders would win, while competing in the Wilmington University Tournament.
The second win came against Philadelphia, 1-0 in overtime, on the following day.
The Marauders begin their conference schedule, on Sept. 3 at West Chester University. Their home debut is out of conference on Sept. 6 against Malloy and is also scheduled as youth soccer night.
Their first home conference game is versus Shippensburg on Sept. 13 (Alumni Day). The team finished last season 11-8-1 overall
and 10-5-1 in conference.
They look to improve on this record and achieve even more success this season.
Millersville was seeded third place in the PSAC Eastern Division, according to the PSAC preseason poll.