Aug. 14, 2007
By Megan Cross
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Holy Cross returns nine starters and 18 letterwinners this season, including four of the top six scorers from the 2006 team. With a group of expereinced players, the team feels a sense of excitement to come out strong in 2007.
"The team was very young last year," said head coach Elvis Comrie. "In order to achieve success you have to go through growing pains. I expect a major improvement from last year. The experience learned from last season will prove to be beneficial this year."
The large class of seven juniors will be expected to impact the team this season. "We're dependant on the junior class to step up and show leadership and produce the goods to have a productive season," said Comrie.
In 2006, six different players scored goals, 12 different players recorded assists, and all but four of those point-scorers are returning this season.
Holy Cross also welcomes 11 incoming freshmen to the 2007 squad. "The incoming class will give quality that we didn't have last year, particularly from a defensive stand point," said Comrie.
Up front, the Crusaders will look to junior co-captain Felipe Castrillon for leadership. Last year, Castrillon was second on the team with seven goals scored. He added two assists for 16 points and had two game-winning goals.
Seniors Marsalis Beckford and Sefton Kincaid should be two other key players for Holy Cross. Kincaid recorded seven points on one goal and a team-best five assists last season, while Beckford totaled six points on two goals and two assists. Sophomore Wesley Laine and freshmen Kyle Miller and Alex Schweitzer will also look to contribute.
Junior Andreas Andrews looks to play a big role for the Crusaders in the midfield, after gaining valuable experience with 11 starts last season. Andrews totaled four assists in 2006, to rank second on the team.
Sophomores Franco Bacigalupo and Ryan O'Hanlon should be two other important players for Holy Cross in 2007. Freshmen Matthew Beckley, Diego Castaneda, Philippe Candido, Jonathan Werth and Thomas Wilhelm will also look to break into the lineup.
The defense should be a huge strength for the Crusaders, as four starters return from last season. Junior co-captain Jerry Dickinson, who will be in his third year as a starter, looks to lead the way. In addition to his outstanding defensive play, Dickinson added two goals and one assist last year.
Senior Chidie Okpoebo and junior Alejandro Melean are two other players who started all 17 games in 2006, with Okpoebo recording two assists and Melean adding one assist. Junior Kregory Hefner, who had one assist in 14 starts last season, looks to round out the starting lineup.
Holy Cross returns all three goalkeepers off last year's roster, led by junior Keith Bauer. In 2006, Bauer posted a 5-6 record in 11 starts, while recording 36 saves and two shutouts. Sophomores Thomas Booth and David LeBar will continue to add depth to the position after gaining experience in their freshman year. Booth started six times in 2006 and made 29 saves, while LeBar had one save in two appearances.
"I'm excited about this year because we have a lot more experience in goal," said Comrie.
Holy Cross is scheduled to play 17 regular season games this year, including eight home contests at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium and four games against teams which advanced to the 2006 NCAA Tournament (Bucknell, Harvard, Lehigh and Providence).
In non-conference action, the Crusaders will face Boston College, Manhattan, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart at home, while traveling to Harvard, Maine, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Providence and Siena.
When Patriot League play begins, Holy Cross will take on American, Colgate, Lafayette and Lehigh at home, and face Army, Bucknell and Navy on the road.
The Patriot League Tournament is set for Nov. 16-18.