UAlbany Soccer Could Compound History
The University at Albany's men's soccer team will attempt to match their historic 2015 season in 2016, and then take it a step further. After capturing the first ever outright regular season America East championship last year, the Great Danes have a mind to not only duplicate that feat, but break through the wall and reach their first ever NCAA tournament. And why not? The Danes return nine starters and 16 letterwinners from a squad that won 10 games last year (most since 2008), was the #1 seed in the conference tournament, and finished the year with it's highest season ending RPI ever.
It's safe to say that UAlbany is no longer flying under the radar. Last week the Great Danes were voted #1 in the preseason poll for the first time in program history by the rest of the leagues coaches. Trevor Gorman, at the helm of the reigning 'Coaching Staff of the Year', says they're not getting caught up in the hype.
"We have expectations for ourselves every season, so we're not paying too much attention to the poll. We need to focus on getting better every day. We're only thinking about our first game v.s. Marist".
That's the grounded message he's relaying to his players. That collection of players may be the most talented the league has to offer. The experience returning is highlighted by the 2015 America East Striker of the Year, Alphonso Pinheiro. The junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil recorded a program record and league leading 11 goals last season. Redshirt senior defender Kieth Trout joined Pinheiro on the first team all league list, while another returning senior defender, Bernardo Mattos, notched second team honors. Returning sophomore midfielder Carlos Clark was named to the all rookie team last season as well. These honorees combined with a host of tenured veterans inherently makes UAlbany the leagues top target.
Fans of these Great Danes will get a pretty good litmus of the highly touted group in non conference play as UA will share the pitch with the likes of DePaul, UMass, Rhode Island, Boston College, and Syracuse before getting into the thick of America East play.