2012 Men's Soccer Season Preview
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - With a thrilling victory over Medaille in the 2011 ECAC final, the Swarthmore men's soccer program completed a remarkable four-year stretch. During that stretch, the Garnet's nine members of the class of 2012 combined to win two Centennial Championships, qualify for three NCAA tournaments and win a staggering 62 games in their careers. But the departure of those nine seniors, and eight starters from the 2011 season opener, leaves the Garnet with significant holes to fill in 2012. Despite these losses, if head coach Eric Wagner's first 10 seasons are any harbinger of things to come, Swarthmore will be more than prepared and retooled to compete for another Centennial Championship this season.
In his first decade at Swarthmore, Wagner's teams have an overall record of 122-59-22 but he begins 2012 with one of his youngest teams ever as the Garnet returns only three seniors. Captain John Pontillo, a physical center back who, with 55 games played has appeared in 20 more contests than any other player on the roster, will join with classmates Thomas Drew, a versatile player who has seen time in the midfield and on defense, and Jake Tracy, a goalkeeper who has allowed just one goal in six career appearances, to provide vital on-field leadership.
The Garnet loses its top three scorers to graduation in Fabian Castro, David Sterngold, and Micah Rose. Castro and Sterngold were both named Second Team All-Centennial while Rose was named First Team All-Centennial and to the All-America squad as well. But several young strikers and midfielders showed promise in 2011 with Jack Momeyer, who scored five times in 2011, Michael Stewart, four goals and one assists, and twin brother Geoffrey Stewart, four assists, leading the way.
Pontillo and Noah Sterngold, a Second Team All-Centennial selection in 2011, will be called upon as the experienced anchors of the Garnet back line that held opponents well below a goal per game last season. Cameron French, Geli Carabases, Jake Weiner and Michael Superdock should all see significant minutes in the defensive unit as well.
Swarthmore returns three goalkeepers from the 2011 squad but will be without graduated David D'Annunzio, one of the best keepers in program history. D'Annunzio finished his Garnet career with a program-record 29 clean sheets and leaves behind massive cleats to fill for the trio who have played a combined 240 minutes.
The Garnet opens the season with the 15th Annual Garnet Alumni Classic, hosting Rutgers-Newark on September 1 and Manhattanville on September 2 and then hits the road for four in a row before a physical test with perennial powerhouse Stevens on September 19. Centennial play begins on September 15 with a visit to Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson visits Clothier Field on September 22 for the Centennial home opener. The team concludes the 2012 regular season hosting Haverford under the lights for Garnet Weekend and Senior Night on October 27.
Coming Next Week - Men's Soccer Video Preview