By Andrew Cahill
Last November, the Union Dutchmen soccer season ended in bitter defeat, one that was decided 5-4 on penalty kicks in favor of rival RPI in the Liberty League semifinals. The 2011 campaign began over Labor Day weekend in the Union Soccer Classic and the Dutchmen hope to make last year’s disappointing end a distant memory with a successful run through the Liberty League schedule and beyond.
Returning is a solid stable of proven scorers in forwards Marc Zeyak ‘12, Craig Santangelo ‘12 and Sebastiaan Jansen ‘13, who led the Dutchmen with six goals last season. Along with their scoring prowess, the defense will be depended upon to remain steady, particularly once the competition in the Liberty League heats up. The solid defense has been anchored by an abundance of goalkeeping talent in Adam Margulies ‘12 and Mike Szczesniak ‘12 who have combined for three shutouts. Defenders Tom Albano ‘12, Kevin Giron ‘12 and Alex Pack ‘13 will be key to shutting down opponent’s attacks and distributing the ball up field to the potent Union attack.
So far in the early going this fall, the Dutch have tallied an astounding 28 goals in five games, highlighted by a 14-0 drubbing of Medgar Evers last Sunday afternoon in Western Massachusetts. But once Liberty League conference play begins Sept. 24 against Rochester Institute of Technology, which begins its inaugural Liberty League season alongside Bard College, the games will figure to be much tighter and vital to Union’s postseason ambitions.
Key Games (bold indicates home)
@ RPI 10/5The Dutchmen will travel up Route 7 to Troy and play the Engineers under the lights at Renwyck Field. It will be the first meeting between the two rivals since last November’s Liberty League Semifinal and the Dutchmen will be out to make a statement on the road.
@ St. Lawrence 10/14The Saints are the defending Liberty League champions and Union will have to trek up to North Country and show that they can beat the best. St. Lawrence is currently ranked #5 in the nation per the latest Division III NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) poll.
vs. Hobart 10/22The Dutchmen will take on the Statesmen of Hobart College in a Saturday matinee (2 p.m.) at the College Park pitch. It will be another solid test for Union as they will have just returned from their North Country trip the weekend before to battle the currently #10 NSCAA ranked Division III soccer team in the nation.