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Morrisville State men’s soccer heads into 2013 season focused, takes the field Friday
MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College men’s soccer team is coming off a historical season from just a year ago, and will take the field for the first time in 2013, Friday afternoon at the SUNY Oswego Tournament against rival Alfred University.
The Mustangs posted a dramatic overtime victory in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) finals in November and advanced for the first time in program history to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. With more than half the roster returning from last year’s team, fourth-year head coach Kyle Graves, hopes to
build off last year’s success and get back to the conference tournament. However, he pointed out, in order to reach that goal, they team must remained focused and disciplined as they will be playing with a “target on their backs”.
Most notable, Morrisville State will be looking to its experienced upperclassmen to help
direct the newcomers to the program, and fill the void left by the graduation of NEAC Player of the Year and three-time All-Conference selection Sanley Pierre-Louis, and two-time All-Conference selection Joey Plummer.
“We have a very talented group of returning and incoming players, but the loss of
Pierre-Louis and Plummer create a large void in our line-up,” Graves said. “We have been working diligently in the preseason to create a new identity and find quality players to fill those shoes.”
Graves noted that he will be looking to tri-captains Gilroy Alvarez (Guatemala), Rob Larkin (Clinton, N.Y.) and Danny Peckham (Webster, N.Y.) to help guide and mold the
incoming class. All three provide a unique leadership and collection of personality traits that contributed to the team’s success last season, and will again provide direction for the Mustangs from all points on the field.
Additionally, returning starters Jake Chase (Cooperstown, N.Y.), Brian Culkin (West Islip,
N.Y.) and Greg Stallone (Hicksville, N.Y.) will be looked to by Graves to provide that additional leadership support as the Mustangs strive to develop cohesion and chemistry on and off the field.
Graves is thrilled about the incoming class, adding that it could be the most talented
group to take the field yet, and expect four key newcomers to make an immediate
impact. Alan Peckham (Webster, N.Y.) will join his brother on the back line this season, brings a wealth of experience to the program having appeared in the New York State Final Four last season, and will help provide stability to the back line and assist in solidifying the Mustangs defensive efforts.
Freshman Joe Sheehan (Liverpool, N.Y.) will play opposite Alvarez on the front line and
according to Graves, will be the perfect fit to the Mustangs offensive minded system of play.
Jesse Astudillo (Wheeling, Ill.) joins Morrisville State after two successful years with Triton College in Illinois where he was instrumental to the team’s NJCAA Division III Final Four appearance. Astudillo great playmaking ability, and Graves feels he will help control the center of the field, making an impact on both sides of the ball.
Heavily recruited Eric Berglund (Elmira, N.Y.) will provide depth and talent in the net
alongside Larkin. Graves feels he could step in when called upon and immediately hold his own.
Morrisville State will get underway Friday at the Oswego State Tournament against Alfred University, and will follow with Houghton College on Saturday. Graves said that
the weekend opener will be a difficult test for the Mustangs, but noted that pairing
the non-conference schedule with similar competition to the NEAC schedule will assist in their preparation when conference play gets underway in mid-September.
Graves feels that the conference will provide similar parity and competitiveness as the
years past. Challenging conference opponents will have Graves and the rest of the Mustangs on their toes throughout the season, as history has proven there truly is very little difference between the teams that have been finishing in the upper half of the standings.
Graves pointed out that Penn State-Abington could boast a difficult test, as will Cazenovia College and SUNYIT, which has the natural territorial rivalry, and are two
opponents that always seem to illicit high emotion and thrilling game play.
“With the difficulty and quality of play in our conference, coupled with the small margin
of making or missing the playoffs,” Graves said, “we really have to remained focused
and disciplined, and have a few bounces go our way to match the success of last
Morrisville State will open conference play Saturday, Sept. 7 at Wells College.
A full roster and schedule can be found online at http://athletics.morrisville.edu.
Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community
service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.