Men's soccer ready for season opener Tuesday

WATERVILLE, Maine – Although they were the youngest team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference a year ago, the Colby College men’s soccer team heads into the 2016 season with optimism and a more experienced team.

Colby, under third-year head coach Ewan Seabrook, opens the season Tuesday at home against St. Joseph's College (Maine) at 7:45 p.m. at Harold Alfond Stadium.

Seabrook graduated just three seniors and has only two seniors on this year’s roster. Colby had 19 first-year players on the roster at the start of last year and 15 return this year as sophomores. The Mules also have six newcomers.

While the Mules finished 3-8-4 last season, many of the young players started or saw quality playing time. The experience paid off when Colby allowed just three goals in the final five games of the season, with two of the goals coming from national champion Amherst College.

The highlight of the season was a shared Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) title after the Mules won the championship in 2014. Last year's CBB battles were defensive struggles, with all three games finishing in 0-0 ties.

Sophomore goalies Dan Carlson (Littleton, Mass.), who played more than 300 minutes, and Ben Hartheimer (Washington, D.C.) both return. First-years Stanley Clarke (Bangor, Maine) and Avery Gibson (Natick, Mass.) are both promising goalkeepers.

The Mules had many players earn starts on defense thanks to some costly injuries. Colby loses co-captains Dan Vogel and Tim Stanton, who is now an assistant coach for Seabrook, to graduation. However, juniors Chandler Smith (Yarmouth, Maine) and Evan Dwyer (West Chester, Pa.) both had 12 starts or more in back.

Colby will have depth defensively with junior Andrew D'Anieri (Wellesley, Mass.) and sophomore Grady Jendzejec (Chappaqua, N.Y.) returning. David Howarth (Cinnaminson, N.J.), who had 13 starts last year, and Richie Gutierrez (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) could play in the midfield or in back. Ryan Lauderback (Barrington, Ill.) and University of New Hampshire transfer Avery Heilbron (Vancouver, B.C.) are new defenders.

The Mules will need more scoring from their forwards and midfielders. Jeffrey Rosenberg (Bethesda, Md.), Lucas Pereira (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.), and Kyle Douglas (Windsor, Conn.) are sophomores and combined for seven goals last year.

Brandon Fahlberg (Lowell, Mass.), a senior co-captain with four assists the past two seasons, returns in the midfield along with classmate and co-captain Jack McGeachie (North Reading, Mass.). Junior Aidan Black (Cumberland Center, Maine) and sophomores Jacob Tower (Bellevue, Wash.), Cole Turissini (Winchester, Mass.), and Wyett MacDonald (Plainfield, N.H.) are returning forwards.

Pereira had two goals and two assists to lead all midfielders in scoring. Sophomores Jansen Aoyoma (Narbeth, Pa.), Jefferey Lin (Natick, Mass.), Garrett Dickey (Centennial, Colo.), and Christian Arita (Norwalk, Conn.) also return in the midfield. Tom Shea and Asa Berolzheimer (Hanover, N.H.) are first-year midfielders.

After the St. Joseph's opener, the Mules open New England Small College Athletic Conference play Saturday at home against Tufts University at 3 p.m. The schedule then gets different with five straight road games followed by five straight home games.