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Chris Hayen recorded four shutouts as a redshirt freshman and was named America East Rookie of the Week last October.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Young men’s soccer team shoots for improvement
August 26, 2011Tweet
In 2010, Binghamton head coach Paul Marco said he had his youngest squad during his nine years at the helm of the program. This year, his team is even
younger, with 11 freshmen joining the program and only eight upperclassmen on the roster. Despite the experience, Marco likes the chemistry and talent on this year’s squad.
“I am very pleased with the depth of our incoming class and the way that the team has come together during the preseason,” he said. “This year, we are young but are very deep in the midfield and have some players coming off of great summers. Our returning players have come back hungrier than ever. It’s going to be competitive for our new players to see just how many of them can contribute on the field.”
Sophomore Chris Hayen was the starting goalkeeper last season. After redshirting behind Jason Stenta the previous season, he stepped in and recorded four shutouts, including one against then nationally-ranked Lafayette. Hayen was named the America East Rookie of the Week on Oct. 11.
“Chris is the front runner right now to start in goal,” Marco said. “He was pretty fit last year but has come back even fitter this year. His confidence is high and we are looking for him to continue to grow as a leader. He seems physically and mentally ready to go.”
Junior Adam Santiago and sophomore Anthony Sokalski are the other returning goalkeepers. Sokalski started three games last season. Joining them is freshman
“We have improved overall in the goalkeeping position,” Marco said. “We have more depth and more experience back this year.”
Juniors Austin Hughes and Tommy Klim are entering their second year as starters. Sophomore Kevin Bunce was a reserve last season but appears ready to assume a leading role this year.
“Austin is really starting to emerge, especially in our most recent training sessions,” Marco said. “His presence and competitive spirit have been great.
Tommy is very good covering players and one-on-one defending. He looked good in doing so in our first exhibition game. Kevin has been a pleasant surprise and is ready to step in and be an active player on the field.”
Senior Jerome Robinson and freshmen Derrick Ladeairous , Jamie Forbes and Erik Funk are other players who will contribute in the backfield. Robinson transferred from West Virginia Tech prior to the 2010 season while Funk redshirted last season. Ladeairous and Forbes have been cited by Marco as two of the better newcomers during the preseason.
Senior captain Ryan Walter and sophomore Tommy Moon return to lead the midfield unit. Walter is a two-time, second-team all-conference selection and just the third two-year captain during the program’s Division I era. From the central midfield position, he led the squad in assists last season. Moon, meanwhile, was named to the America East All-Rookie Team last season and played this summer with the Des Moines Menace of the Premier Development League (PDL).
“In our first exhibition game this preseason, Ryan and Tommy covered more ground than any two players on the field,” Marco said.
Senior Santigui Tounkara and junior Trey Janeski are the other top returning midfielders. After transferring from UNLV prior to last season, Jasenski has
settled into a steady role at Binghamton. Tounkara, meanwhile, played in a couple of leagues over the summer to improve his fitness and commitment level.
“We expect good things from Trey this year,” Marco said. “He has come back in better shape and is showing good progress. I have been very impressed
with Santigui and his commitment to the team. He is in the best shape he has ever been in. We expected him to improve and he is ready to do a little bit more for us.”
Pushing to break into the starting group are freshmen Tucker Sandercock, Ben Nicholson and Alan Duff. As Marco puts it, however, the list of players capable of playing at midfield extends much deeper.
“Today in training, we had 12 different guys play in the midfield,” Marco said. “We have a lot of talented guys trying to get out there on the field.”
Junior forward Jake Keegan is coming off a breakout season in the PDL. Playing for the Westchester Flames, he led the entire 64-team league with 16 goals. He
averaged an even 1.00 goals per game and was one of just 11 players named to the PDL’s all-conference team. In two seasons at Binghamton, Keegan has scored 10 times and was named second-team all-conference in 2009. With his success this past summer, he is primed for a stellar season this fall.
“What Jake did this summer was fantastic,” Marco said. “He has returned this preseason in great shape and his fellow junior Adam Whitehead led the team in total points last season.
Sophomore Luke Halberg scored twice in his rookie season and was named the conference’s Rookie of the Week on Sept. 13. Transferring from NAIA Lyon
College is sophomore Marts Reid-Warden. Also joining the team this season is freshman Sasha Safavi.
“Our strikers have all shown a keen sense of the goal and have worked well together during the preseason,” Marco said.
On Sept. 17-19, Binghamton hosts its first-ever in-season tournament, which includes games against Central Connecticut and Rider. In the America East Conference, UMBC is the defending tournament champion while Boston University won the regular season crown. New Hampshire, which defeated the Bearcats in the first round of the tournament last fall, and Stony Brook are other squads capable of making an impact this season. Vermont and Albany are coming off rebuilding years.
“Top to bottom, the conference has gotten stronger this season,” Marco said. “We could have more than one nationally ranked team during the season. There is no easy game that we will play in the America East.”