2010 Mens Soccer Season Preview

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – For the Swarthmore College men’s soccer team, the 2009 season had everything needed for a storybook season - everything but the perfect ending.  After recording one of the best regular seasons in program history and once again reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in dramatic fashion, the Garnet’s season ended in heartbreak, losing to lower-seeded Transylvania on penalty kicks.  But that heartbreak is fuel for the 2010 team, which hopes to fight for another Centennial Conference championship and advance past the Round of 16 for the first time in over 30 years.

Head coach Eric Wagner enters his ninth season at the helm of the Garnet, fielding a balanced squad that returns 10 starters from last season's team. But the pressure will be on the Garnet – ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA preseason poll – as a challenging schedule and an ever-growing target on the squad's back present obstacles on the way to another deep postseason run.

The offense will surely miss the creativity and leadership of graduated midfielder Dylan Langley '10, but the Garnet return nearly every other piece of the high-powered offense which scored 49 goals in 2009. Leading the way will be forward Morgan Langley '11, who had a career year in 2009, netting 14 goals – including highlight-reel goals against Gettysburg and Hobart. Langley enters his senior year with 20 career goals and 13 career assists, ranking 11th and second all-time in program history respectively. Along with Langley, juniors Micah Rose, David Sterngold, Roberto Contreras and Fabian Castro should all make significant contributions across the field after standout sophomore years.

Rose, a first-team All-Centennial and second-team All-Region selection, helped fuel the potent offense from the midfield, while Sterngold (5 goals) and Castro (4 goals) showed the ability to put the ball in the net last season. Henry Ainley (4 goals) is also expected to play an important role in the attack.

Defensively, Swarthmore returns all four starters from the team that conceded just 14 goals all last season. Led by All-Centennial selections Gage Newman '11, and Brett McLarney '12, as well as Pierre Dyer '12 and John Pontillo '13, the Garnet allowed just .67 goals per game last season. In net, goalkeeper David D'Annunzio '12 takes over the role of full-time starter, after splitting starting duty last season. After just two seasons, D'Annunzio can already be found in the Swarthmore record books for career goals-against average (0.59) and career shutouts (13).

After opening the season with the 13th Annual Garnet Alumni Classic, Swarthmore faces a stiff early-season test under the Friday night lights (September 10) against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), which finished the 2009 season ranked 19th by D3Soccer.com. The Garnet open Centennial Conference play at Johns Hopkins (September 18) in a rematch of one of last year's Centennial Conference semifinals. The Garnet close out the regular season with Senior Night at home against Haverford on October 30th, marking the latest installment in one of the longest running rivalries in college soccer.

2010 Centennial Conference Preseason Poll

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