Leading the Warriors into a seventh straight post-season tournament are (from left): Mike Radlbeck, Luke Capezzone, Dan Eisenmann, Carl Stensland, Mitch Power, and Christopher Giustina. (Photo by Liam Murphy)
The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team will be making its seventh straight postseason appearance when the Warriors face Gordon College in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament Saturday at Hitchcock Field on the Amherst College campus.
In Saturday's first round, Eastern (12-3-4) plays Gordon (18-2-0) The regional title match is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Ranked in a tie for tenth in New England, Eastern gained an automatic berth after coming off its third straight Little East Conference playoff championship and fifth in seven years. The postseason appearance is the 19th in Eastern history, fifth straight in the NCAA field and sixth NCAA berth in seven years.
Eastern is 2-5 in five years of NCAA tourney play. After losing in their openers in 2007 and 2009, the Warriors defeated Nichols College, 1-0, in 2010, and Springfield College, 2-0, in 2012 before dropping a 2-1 double-overtime decision to St. Lawrence University in 2013.
Seeded first, Eastern won its fifth Little East Conference playoff title in seven years -- third straight -- with the victory over second-seeded UMass Dartmouth in Saturday's LEC title match, giving seventh-year head coach Greg DeVito his 100th career coaching victory.
Senior forward Luke Capezzone of Colchester was named LEC Playoff Most Outstanding Player after scoring the game-winning goals in both of Eastern's playoff matches. Senior Mitch Power of Douglas, MA, is the Eastern team leader with 11 goals and 24 points, with sophomore forward Timothy Jennison of Coventry following with 17 points, including a team-high five assists. Freshman Greg Walton of Brunswick, ME, has started all 19 matches in goal with seven full shutouts, a 0.64 goals-against average and .850 save percentage.
Senior midfielder Carl Stensland of Storrs is the only field player to start every match this year and has played all but 24 minutes. Other full-time starters in addition to Power, Jennison, Capezzone and Walton are senior backs Mike Radlbeck of Westbrook and Christopher Giustina of Enfield; first-year sophomore back Cooper D'Ambrosio of Andover; and freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren of Southbury.