2008 Men's Soccer Preview
The Franklin & Marshall men's soccer team reached new heights in 2007, setting the record for most wins in a season with 15, going undefeated at home during the regular season and reaching the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. What does this mean for the 2008 season?
The Diplomats, ranked 21st in the nation according to National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III preseason poll and fourth in the Centennial Conference (CC) poll, look to continue to be a force in the CC and a mainstay in the national spotlight. Last year, F&M reached as high as No. 9 in the NSCAA coaches poll while posting the second post points in a season with 117 (44g, 29a).
With the loss of seven senior starters, two-time NSCAA/adidas Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year Dan Wagner has 20 returning letterwinners and nine newcomers to choose from to fill those shoes.
The young F&M team that will take the field with a home-opening tournament this weekend showcases two seniors, nine juniors and 10 sophomores. In that group of men, the Diplomats will pride themselves on the dynamic defense that did not allow a goal in the first six games thanks in part to standout goalkeeper, then-rookie Zach Zamek. He had a break-out year, establishing the record most wins in a season (15) and shutouts by a freshman (8). Zamek started all 19 games and recorded a 0.72 goals-against average.
Captains Dan Shuptar and Eric Corsini will be in front of Zamek to provide leadership as veteran defenders, while junior midfielder and captain Matt Melino will be seen controlling the midfield. Melino tallied two goals and one assist last season, netting the game winner against DeSales.
F&M will put its home-winning streak on the line this weekend with an opening kickoff tournament, before dipping into the CC schedule beginning on Sept. 20 at Muhlenberg.