UAlbany Men’s Soccer 2014 Season Preview

ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany men’s soccer team opens exhibition play this weekend in preparation for the 2014 season. Trevor Gorman’s Great Danes look to improve on a 6-11-4 record from last season.

2013 SEASON:

One year ago, UAlbany advanced to the America East semifinals for the first time since 2011. In the team’s largest offensive output since 2008, the Purple & Gold defeated No. 3 seed Vermont 5-1 in the quarterfinals to face No. 1 seed UMBC in Baltimore. UAlbany suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to the nationally ranked Retrievers in double overtime.

Highlights:

  • The 2013 Great Danes earned their first Division I win over a nationally ranked opponent when they defeated No. 22 Fairleigh Dickinson at Bob Ford Field 2-1 on Sept. 15. The win also marked the first-ever victory for a UAlbany team at the newly-constructed Bob Ford Field
  • UAlbany won four games at home, its highest home win total since 2006.
  • The Purple & Gold also posted record attendance in 2013, attracting nearly 2,000 fans for its night game on Sept. 25 against local rival Siena. Gorman’s squad attracted a crowd of 1,000 fans or more on three occasions at Bob Ford Field.

RETURNING FOR 2014:

UAlbany returns nine starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s America East semifinalist team, including over 80% of its offense.

The Great Danes depended on a balanced scoring attack last season, including 11 goal scorers led by Brandon Wilson with four tallies. Phillip Persson topped the Purple & Gold in the assist column with four last season, and was named a captain for 2014.

Three sophomores look to make an immediate impact after emerging as scoring threats in 2013, including Jonathan Interiano, Bernardo Mattos and Leo Melgar. Interiano assisted the gamewinner to Phil Denara against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 15 off the bench, as well as scoring the gamewinner in double overtime against New Hampshire on Oct. 26. Melgar played just nine games due to injury, but scored in his first career appearance against UMass Lowell on Oct. 16. Mattos notched the gamewinner at Binghamton in the final game of the regular season to secure a postseason bid for the Great Danes.

Denara, Persson, Wilson and All-America East Second Team selection Anthony Rozzano will anchor the midfield. Rozzano scored the game-tying goal against New Hampshire at home on Oct. 26 en route to a double overtime win for the Great Danes. The trio of upperclassmen will look to fill the gap left by Pomare Te Anau, who will not return in 2014 due to injury.

In the back, Tim Allen returns to the net after suffering a season-ending injury last season. The senior captain started in all 11 of his appearances with a goals against average of 1.00 and 53 saves.

Along with Allen, the Great Danes return two experienced defenders in Dominic McGarr and Luke Palmateer. A three-time captain, McGarr has started 58 consecutives games, the most for any Great Dane all-time. Palmateer made 20 starts on defense for the Purple & Gold last season as a freshman, and earned a spot on the America East All-Rookie squad.

THE SCHEDULE:

Gorman’s 2014 Great Danes will play nine home games this season, and face out-of-league opponents from nine different conferences.

UAlbany renews the series with Colgate after a two-season leave to open the home slate on Sept. 5. The Raiders kick off a three-game homestand that includes Monmouth on Sept. 7 and Iona on Sept. 12. Monmouth, the preseason favorite in the MAAC, is receiving votes in the preseason NSCAA Poll. The teams fought to a 1-1 double overtime tie last season in New Jersey.

The Great Danes meet Villanova for the first time all-time in its new soccer complex on Sept. 14, and also face St. Francis (N.Y.) at home on Sept. 30. The Red Flash earned the NEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and also boast preseason MAC Hermann Watch List contender Kevin Correa.

Opening the America East schedule on Oct. 4 against Vermont, the Great Danes travel to UMass Lowell and New Hampshire before a rematch against UMBC on Oct. 18 at home. The Purple & Gold play three of its last four league games at home to conclude the regular season.

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UAlbany men’s soccer travels to Northeastern on Sunday for the first of two exhibition matches. The Great Danes host Marist in their final exhibition on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 7:00 p.m., at Bob Ford Field. The Purple & Gold suits up for its first official game of 2014 on Friday, Aug. 29 against Appalachian State. 

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