By Zac Vierra – Co-Editor-In-Chief
Last year marked the 11th consecutive winning season for the Lasell men’s soccer team as the squad finished the season 9-6-3.
But for head coach Giovanni Pacini, who started the soccer program 15 years ago, the 2011 campaign was below average for Lasell standards.
“We have expectations on how we win and when we went 9-6-3, that is disappointing,” said Pacini.
This year the Lasers look to bounce back and return to the top of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference and Pacini believes the past can be used as motivation.
“Last year will be a strength for us because we don’t want to go through that again and the returning players do not want to go through that again…we remember what happened, we remember history so we don’t repeat it,” he said.
Lasell returns 16 players including two members which were named to the GNAC All-Conference Second Team in junior forward Mike Skelton and junior midfielder Nery Guerra. Along with that pair the Lasers have high expectations for seniors Evan Gaccione, Adam Luciano and Eric Fournier, along with Ryan Montemurro who has stepped up as a sophomore.
The Lasers also welcome a strong crop of freshman including Conor Fitzgerald, Bryan Biondi, Taylor Witherbee, Nick Liquori and Miguel Colmenares who will be the starting goalkeeper.
“Those guys in particular have really done a good job for us in playing and contributing immediately,” said Pacini. “It’s probably our best recruiting class in terms of not just numbers, but quality.”
This depth of the team is something that Lasell can use as one of its main strengths.
“It’s not like we have 20 good soccer players on the team and 10 warm bodies. We have 30 players all of whom can contribute. The contributions vary from player to player because a freshman’s contributions will be different than a senior’s but everyone will be able to continue so depth is a real plus for us,” said Pacini.
The team got off to a hot start winning the Lasell College Kick-Off Classic after beating Hunter College 1-0 off a goal in double OT by Skelton on September 1, before defeating Rhode Island College in the championship game the next day.
“When you get out of the box and win right off the bat it’s very helpful. It gives you positive momentum going into the season, so it was huge. And it was our tournament , to win our own tournament, a tournament championship, only adds to the positive nature of the beginning of the season,” said Pacini.
Although Pacini is happy with his team’s start he knows there is a lot of soccer left in the season.
“One of the trademarks of our poor season [last year] was inconsistency. The key thing is remaining consistent. We are 2-0, we played well, the question is can we stay at a consistent level to give us positive results,” said Pacini. “We want to win a conference championship we want to sustain that 11 year winning streak of winning soccer.”