August 31, 2012

2012 Season Preview: Men's Soccer

(PRESQUE ISLE) -- The men's soccer season got off to a very promising start for the University of Maine-Presque Isle in 2011.  The Owls were able to jump out to a 2-0 record after opening weekend wins over Vermont Tech and Unity.

Unfortunately what followed was a bit of a "power outage" for UMPI as they finished the season 2-10 after the sizzling start.  Of the 10 losses, 6 came via shutouts at the hands of the opponents.

As Alan Gordon heads into his 22nd season as the Owls coach in 2012 he knows the simple truth:  score more, win matches.

"If we can increase our scoring output, we can reach our goal of qualifying for the USCAA national tournament," Gordon said.

Last season was not a total loss for UMPI.  The lack of a conference and home games, a new struggle that is now a familiar theme for Owls teams, led to the need to play high caliber teams and play them on the road in order to fill a schedule.

"We played very competitive soccer in 2011, holding our own against some very talented squads," notes Gordon.

The 2012 schedule, while potentially friendly in terms of level of competition, once again is devoid of many opportunities for the home crowd to cheer on their Owls.  After playing only 6 home games last season, UMPI will benefit from home cooking a mere four times this September and October.

"We play 3 of our 4 home games in a seven day stretch early in the season," said Gordon.  "It will be important for us to have a strong start to the season if we hope to qualify for post season play."

Also working against the Owls in '12 is the departure of some key components to last year's squad.  2011 UMPI Male Athlete of the Year Craig Maffei has graduated.  Striker Kyle Corrigan will also miss the season due to injury.

Looking to fill those voids however are a group of talented first year players led by Seth Cote (Fr./Otis, ME), Ryan Noyes (Fr./Fort Fairfield, ME), and Chad Caverhill (Fr./Caribou, ME). 

Additionally, the Owls should also get some spirited, experienced goalkeeping from Josh MacKinnon (Jr./Lismore, NS) who had some solid stretches in '11 while splitting time between the posts with graduated senior Richard Felbaum.

Gordon has been around long enough to know when a team has potentially the right mix of experience and talent.  Could the 2012 squad fit the bill?

"If we can capitalize on our speed and quickness to put the ball in the back of the net, it could be a very exciting season for the UMPI men's soccer team," says the coach.