Aug. 30, 2007
Fairfield, CT - After a resurgent season in 2005, the Sacred Heart men's soccer team got off to a fast start in 2006. However, a mid-season slump led to a poor finish and the Pioneers fell short of the NEC playoffs. With nearly all of their top players returning in 2007, SHU is ready for a return run to the postseason and, they hope, all they way to a championship.
The Pioneers chances for another run to the playoffs are bolstered by a strong core of returning players on both sides of the ball. Up front, sophomore Jason Tessitore (Ansonia, CT) returns to lead the attack that he has been the focus of the last two years. A first team All-Northeast Conference selection as a freshman, Tessitore tied for the team lead in scoring as a sophomore, turning in five goals and four assists for 14 points.
In addition to Tessitore, the Pioneers also welcome back another big name up front in the 6-4, 215 pound Jesper Fredriksson (Gothenburg, Sweden). Fredriksson burst on the scene last year as led the team in scoring with six goals and two assists for 14 points. However, most of that production was early in the season as he did not find the back of the net in his last 12 games.
Both Fredriksson and Tessitore will have to be more consistent for the Pioneer attack to be effective. In addition to those two, the Pioneers also have seniors Ricarti Mendes (Campinas, Brazil) and Brice Victor returning to the attack on the wings. Sophomores Nemanja Filimonovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and Svetozar Gladic (Novi Sad, Serbia) return to anchor the midfield for the red and white.
Just as vital to the Pioneer success is their defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Jones (Stoke-on-Trent, England) Jones had an outstanding freshman year, earning second team All-NEC honors as well as a nod to the NSCAA All-New England Men's Soccer Second Team. Although he didn't win any awards, Jones had a solid sophomore year as well. He turned in a 1.43 goals against average with a .726 save percentage. Jones posted seven wins, three of which were shutouts.
In front of Jones the Pioneers return a defensive squad that includes team captain Jonatan Allback (Gothenburg, Sweden) and junior Anthony Anzevui (Newcastle, England). The two juniors led a group that yielded less then two goals on average per game last year and was one of the top backlines in the Northeast Conference. Also returning in the backfield is junior David Backman (Gothenburg, Sweden).
A quartet of Connecticut players highlights the 2007 recruiting class for the Pioneer men's soccer team and head coach Joe Barroso. Led by midfielder Mario Mililli (Shelton, CT) the Nutmeg recruits include defenseman Giancarlo Massaro (Woodbridge, CT), midfielder Lusiano Dadario (East Haven, CT) and goalie Justin Parlapiano (Stafford Springs, CT). The Pioneers also welcome another goalie in 6'2 Tyler Locatell (Goshen, NY). The final newcomers include Sergio Freitas (Edison, NJ), a two-time team MVP at John Stevens High School, William Richards (Commack, NY), Doug Barone (Kearney, NJ), and Denis Schulte (Lippstadt, Germany).
Sacred Heart's slate of games includes 18 games, with contests against regional rivals as well as the Pioneers traditional Northeast Conference foes. SHU will host six homes contests this year.
The Pioneers open the 2007 season on Thursday, August 31st at Providence in a 3:00 pm kickoff. SHU's home opener is a holiday matinee on Labor Day, September 3rd against Iona. During non-conference play in September, the Pioneers will participate in a tournament at Yale as well as the Nike Soccer Classic at the University of New Hampshire. Other non-league early season games include trips to Vermont, Maine and Holy Cross.
The Northeast Conference schedule opens with a pair of in-state rivalry games for the Pioneers during the first weekend of October, as they welcome Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut to Campus Field. The following weekend, SHU is slated to complete the NEC's "west coast swing" as they visit Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA). Mount St. Mary's and Monmouth come calling to Campus Field during the third week of October and the Pioneers visit Brooklyn the next weekend to face St. Francis (NY) and Long Island.
SHU will close out the season against Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday, November 3rd on Senior Day at Campus Field. The NEC Tournament will take place November 16-18 at the home of the highest seed.