WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - After posting the College's fourth consecutive winning season and climbing to as high as eighth in the national polls a year ago, the 2012 William and Mary men's soccer team will look to build on its early successes last season, as its prepared to compete in the upper echelon of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tribe welcomes back eight-of-11 starters from last season's squad that defeated the likes of 5th ranked SMU and finished the season with a mark of 10-9. Head coach Chris Norris will be entering his ninth season at the helm of the Green and Gold program.
In exhibition play this season, the Tribe posted victories over Longwood and Virginia Tech. Against the Lancers on Aug. 13, W&M raced out to an early 2-0 lead behind goals from sophomore Chris Albiston and junior Ben Coffey. After a minute of play in the second frame, the College went ahead 3-0, after sophomore Michael Teiman headed in a score off of a corner kick from junior Chris Perez. W&M went on to defeat Longwood, 3-1.
On Aug. 18, W&M defeated Virginia Tech, 1-0, at Martin
Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field. In
a match that had the intensity and atmosphere of a regular season contest, the
Green and Gold went ahead in the 22nd minute, when junior Roshan Patel punched
home a rebound off of sophomore Marcus Luster's first shot attempt. For the Tribe, the remainder of the contest
was defined by multiple scoring opportunities, while smothering any and all
Hokie scoring threats.
Prior to opening the 2012 season, three Tribe player's were selected to the preseason All-CAA team. Junior Will Smith earned first-team accolades, while junior Roshan Patel and sophomore Michael Teiman were named honorable mention.
The Tribe will be young and talented at the forward position. Leading the attack are sophomores Josh West and Chris Albiston. West led the team in assists last year, while also notching a goal. Albiston saw action in 16 matches in 2011, with five starts. He finished the campaign with a goal and an assist. Classmate Patrick O'Brien will look to expand on a solid freshman season. Last year, the Williamsburg, Va., native appeared in 14 contests, tallying one goal and one assist.
Two further members of the sophomore class are expected to influence the Tribe's attack in 2012. Andrew Kestler will look to build on his 14 appearances and two starts in 2011, while Zack Montebell will also be pushing for more involvement this fall.
Redshirt freshman Chris Dunn will look to make an immediate contribution as the Yorktown High School product notched an assist in W&M's exhibition at Longwood. (Aug.13). Freshman Jackson Eskay, a third generation W&M student-athlete, will push for time. The Damascus, Md., native earned all-state honors at Urbana High School last year.
Senior co-captain Ben Anderson will provide leadership, experience and production for W&M in the midfield. Anderson has made 40 career starts and earned third-team All-CAA accolades in 2010. Last season, the Mechanicsville, Va., native accounted for two goals and two assists. Another senior, Eddie Barr, will look to come back strong after an injury ruled him out for most of 2011.
Sophomore Marcus Luster, who garnered CAA Rookie-Team honors in 2011, returns looking to build on an exceptional freshman campaign. Junior Ben Coffey brings to the fold 12-career starts in 23 matches played. Last season, Coffey accounted for two points on two assists. Classmate Chris Perez, who has been solid in preseason, appeared in all 19 matches a year ago, earning eight starts to go along with one goal.
Freshmen Ryan Flesch and Jeff Bombelles will also try to make their mark in the Tribe midfield. Flesch has looked sharp in both preseason scrimmages and his versatility could see him earn time up front as well. Bombelles' toughness and high soccer IQ make him a great compliment to both Anderson and Luster in the deep-lying central midfield role.
On the back line, junior co-captain Will Smith returns to a stout unit that finished the season ranked second in the CAA in goals allowed (22). Smith, who earned All-CAA second-team distinctions in 2011, started all 19 matches for W&M last season, producing two assists.
Junior's Roshan Patel and Andrew Hinnant give the Green and Gold a wealth of experience in the backfield. As a freshman in 2010, Patel earned All-CAA Rookie Team honors as he started all 22 matches for W&M. For his career, the McLean, Va., native has earned 32 starts in 38 matches. In 2011, Hinnant was limited to only seven starts in 10 matches due to injury but the Winston-Salem N.C., native is poised to contribute right away in 2012.
Sophomore Michael Teiman returns having started 18 matches a year ago en route to earning CAA All-Rookie Team accolades. Last season, Teiman accounted for one goal and one assist. He will play an integral role for the Tribe on the backline.
Rounding out the defensive unit are redshirt freshman Neil Harrison and true freshman Tyler Kent. Harrison comes off a very good spring season during which he grew into the right back role. Kent is a tremendous athlete who has the ability to impact games in a number of ways.
In goal, the Tribe will replace graduated senior Colin Smolinsky, who started 18 matches and ranked first in the CAA in save percentage a year ago.
The competition for starting keeper is comprised of sophomores Alex Harrington, Bennett Jones and red-shirt freshman Daniel Laws. Freshman David Phillips, of Rocky Mount, Va., will also add to the keeper contention. Of the returning frame occupiers, Jones is the only to see collegiate action. Last season, the Winston Salem, N.C., native earned the start against No.13 Monmouth, tallying three saves.
Harrington, who redshirted in 2010, has yet to see regular season action between the posts for W&M. However, the Arlington, Va., has the talent and technique, which was evident during his first-half shutout in the exhibition win over Virginia Tech on Aug. 18.
After redshirting in 2011, Laws played a solid second half in goal at Longwood on Aug.13. Freshman Phillips brings outstanding quickness and shot-stopping ability to the position. During his senior year of high school, Phillips earned First-Team All-State keeper accolades.