Recently in Men's Soccer Category
By Rick Emery and Sean Capezzone
Hey guys, Rick and Cakes checking in for the last time!
A few days ago, I wrote a post describing our first NCAA tournament game against Nichols College and how we would be traveling to Bowdoin College to battle in the second round. Unfortunately, it did not seem to make it's way onto the website, so I apologize to those of you that follow our blog. Hopefully, it will be posted along with this one to keep you all updated on how our season turned out. (Sorry Mr. Smiles)
After a long three months, our season has officially come to a close. We lost our second round contest to the No. 6 team in the nation, Bowdoin College, by a score of 2-1. We left everything we had on the field and we were able to walk away with our heads held high knowing that we can compete with the top teams in the country.
With twenty-two of the twenty-four players hopefully returning in the fall, the possibilities are endless and the team has potential to challenge for a national title. It seems that all of the freshmen have a strong desire to work hard this off-season to get bigger, stronger and faster, and they understand the work that needs to be done in order to make the goal of being a national champion a reality.
As seniors, we wish the team all the best in the coming years, and we hope to see them continue to propel the program into the ranks of the elite. Do all of the little things this off season to help make this program the best it can be. Next season is closer then you think and even though we will not be there with you, we will be supporting you all 100% of the way.
Also, we wanted to thank all of the parents, families, friends, and fans for their unprecedented support throughout the years! Thank you all so much from the bottom of our hearts!
-Cakes and Rick
By Rick Emery
Sorry it took so long getting this new post up, but we've been busy WINNING OUR FIRST EVER NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME! After a devastating penalty kick loss to Rhode Island College in the Little East Conference semis, we were fortunate enough to receive the school's first ever "at-large" bid. For those of you who aren't aware of what that means, it is basically the a spot in the tournament for the seventeen strongest teams that did not automatically qualify by winning their conference tournament.
On Thursday, we made the most of the NCAAs decision to allow us into the tournament by beating Commonwealth Coast Conference champion Nichols College away by a 1 - 0 decision. The game was a nail-biter and even though we were outshot by Nichols, Jon DeCasanova came up with a clutch goal (first NCAA tournament goal for Eastern) in the 28th minute and that was all we needed to pull out a win.
Now that we got the monkey of winning of an NCAA tournament, off of our backs it's time to re-focus and get prepared for Bowdoin College this coming Sunday. It's a long trip up there and we don't want to come home with anything less then a win. It's going to be a tough test, and they are a quality side, but if we play our game and come out strong we have a good chance of taking the game to the "polar bears".
Thank you all for the continued support!!
Wish us luck!
by Rick Emery
13-3-2. After eighteen games, we have finally reached the end of our regular season and it time for Little East Conference tournament play!
We begin the second half of our season on Wednesday with a home field semifinal matchup with Rhode Island College. This past Saturday we defeated Plymouth State in a 1-0 fashion after Jon DeCasanova decided to blast a ball off the far post and into the back of the net with four minutes remaining. The goal, and eventually the win, gave us the advantage in points over RIC.in the final conference standings, and we were able to secure home field for the semifinals of the Little East Conference tournament. It is not clear where we will be playing on Saturday in the finals, but if we do what we are capable of, it should not make a difference where we play. The guys are all excited to repeat as LEC champs and are all working hard this week to make that goal a reality.
Besides beating Plymouth State this past weekend, we absolutely crushed Becker College last Wednesday. 8-1 was the final score and so many of our teammates were able to place their name on the scoresheet. Romaro Johnson scored his first (and second) collegiate goals, Tommy Vear netted his first collegiate hat trick, Cory Tobler got a tally on the sheet and so did Jon DeCasanova and Luke Capezzone.
The rout was a huge confidence booster for the team and it definitely helped our team's offense get a good warm-up for the upcoming weeks. Our defense also played extremely well, only conceding two goals over our last four games. The defense, which consists of Brad Fletcher, Jordan Munsell, Aaron Smiles, Mike Radlback, and keeper Carl Appel, have been consistent all season and been the backbone of this team. We hope that they keep up the great job in the back and help bring the title back to Eastern next weekend.
Finally, I feel like this guy is never on the stat sheet, but he is such a big piece of this team, Matt Esposito has been stepping up big time and his versatility and smarts on the field have been a major factor in the success of this program. Besides the guys I just mentioned, everyone is a unbelievable player and as a team we are just as talented (across the board) as many of the "top teams" in the country and we look forward to proving that in the weeks to come.
Do your best to come down and support us in our semifinal contest on Wednesday versus Rhode Island at 6pm on the turf field!
Hope to see you all there,
By Rick Emery
It's been a busy week for the team with three games in a five day span, but we were able to work hard and come away with a 2-1 record (9-3-1 overall).
We started the week with a tough loss to a strong Montclair State team, and realized that we had to pull ourselves together for a crucial match against conference opponents Southern Maine and a regionally ranked Kean University (New Jersey). We played extremely well for both games and took down Maine by a score of 3-0 and then after a long night's rest defeated Kean by a score of 3-1. Our offense turned up the heat with the return of Matt Furman, who had been out recovering from a facial injury. Matt had four of the six goals this weekend, registering his first hat-trick during the match against Kean. He is a real game changer and we are ecstatic to have him back in the line-up terrorizing defenses.
Outside of the matches; this past Saturday was our annual "Youth Day" where the NECONN youth players were involved in a morning clinic with myself, Rysuke Imamura, Romaro Johnson, Matt Janco, and Coach Phaiah. During that time, we taught them how to dribble players one on one and finish chances with confidence. The clinic was a huge success and we thank all of those players who were able to come out and show us the future of Connecticut soccer. Keep up the good work guys!
On Sunday prior to the game, we had the honor to enjoy a late lunch with over seventy past players and coaches of the program where we celebrated the 50th reunion of men's soccer at Eastern Connecticut. It was a great experience to meet the alumni who have shaped the program into what it is today, and I wanted to thank them all for coming out and celebrating the 50th year of the program with us!
**We are organizing a team for Relay for Life which is coming up this weekend. For those of you that don't know what Relay for Life is, it is a walk to show awareness to cancer and cancer survivors while raising money for cancer patients and future research. As a team, we have raised hundreds of dollars, but there is still time to donate if you want to join our cause! If you are interested in donating to our team please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a slow week because our next game is at Rhode Island College this Saturday at 1p.m. We are currently both tied in second place in the conference so you know it will be a great contest...wish us luck! I'll be sure to let you know how we did in the game and how Relay went next week.
Thanks for checking in!
By Rick Emery and Sean Capezzone
This past week we really fought hard as a team and overcame a lot of adversity to walk away with two big-time wins!
The week started off against Salem State, where after hitting an unreal amount of traffic driving through Boston, we literally ran off of the bus in order to try and make our kick-off time of 7p.m. We had just been on a bus for four hours and were now expected to prepare for a regional contest in under thirty minutes (Salem State's coach was understanding of our issue so he gave us thirty minutes). Luckily, the team knew what had to be done and we immediately took the game to Salem.
Tom "the witch-hunter" Vear (Salem, Mass = Witch Country) missed an early opportunity, but slid home a great one timer from Matt Esposito in the first half. Salem never really had any quality chances to recover after Tom put away the first, but Cory Tobler wanted to make sure it was going to stay like that. His hard-fought, speedy run in the beginning of the second made heads turn as he single-handedly dribbled through Salem's defense and slotted it past the keeper. The scored remained 2-0 and it was a huge boost for the team after being defeated twice prior.
The game this past weekend also showed the character of the team, as after going down 1-0 to UMass Boston with under twenty five minutes to play, the boys pushed hard for the win. Jon DeCasanova started the scoring with a chip over the keeper to tie it up, and Mike "Rattlesnake" Radlbeck sealed the win with a late knee ball to far post (sent in by Ryan McCormack) with five minutes remaining. The game proved that no matter how far down we are in a game, we have the character and perseverance to overcome.
This week we play a strong Montclair State team (Tuesday - 7pm), and have two contests this weekend against Southern Maine and Kean University so come on down to the turf field and check out the action! We'll keep you all updated the best we can, but we would love you to come cheer us on Tuesday night under the lights!
Hope to see you there!
-- Rick and Cakes
By Rick Emery and Sean Capezzone
Hey guys, thanks for checking in!
This week was a tough one for all of us with back-to-back losses to Trinity College and Keene State.
None of us on the team enjoy losing so we have been working hard on the training pitch in order to get ourselves prepared for Tuesday night's contest with Salem State. Instead of reminicing on our past defeats we are looking toward getting back to our winning ways and improving our record this week. Salem State is always a tough team to play on the road, but the players are all feeling confident after a long film session and tough practice Sunday morning. We all know what the team is capable of and are aware that we still have a long season ahead. Keep up the support, we need it now more than ever!
We'll have another update for you all after the game on Tuesday up in Salem...wish us luck!
Rick and Cakes
By Rick Emery and Sean Capezzone
Rick and Cakes here!
What a big week it was for the program! On Tuesday, the NSCAA regional and national rankings came out. The program was fortunate to be recognized as the second-ranked team in New England and the 16th ranked team in the country for a Divsion III program. Even though the rankings don't make a difference this early on into the season, it is great to be honored as one of the top programs in the country.
On Wednesday night we opened up our home schedule, after a long fpur-game road trip to begin the season, versus regional power Wheaton (ranked fourth in the recent NSCAA New England poll). The atmosphere was electric because a great crowd showed up to support us. The game was hard-fought with both sides having quality chances to get a goal. But at the end of 120 minutes, the game ended as a 0-0 draw. The downside to the match was that Matt Furman and Aaron Smiles sustained injuries. The good news is that both players will be back very soon (for the ladies, Furman's face is fine and will be as good as new in a week or two).
On Saturday afternoon, we opened up with our first Little East Conference match versus in-state rival Western Connecticut State University. The match consisted of very little quality opportunities for each side as most of the play was sustained throughout the middle of the pitch. A first-half goal (an unbelievable side volley) by sophmore midfielder Jon DeCasanova, was the difference in the match (1-0). The game was not a pretty one to watch but you need to take the victories anyway you can in the Little East. It was very important to come away with a result on the road with such a young squad.
This upcoming week will be very important to the program as we faceoff against two top ranked New England foes. On Tuesday night we face in-state rival Trinity at home and then on Saturday we head up to New Hampshire to play against Little East rival Keene State. This week will be a tremendous test for us.
That's all we have for now. We will check back later on in the week to give you the updates of how the mid-week game versus Trinity goes down. We hope to see a large crowd there Tuesday night!!!
-Rick and Cakes
By Rick Emery
It's been a long two weeks of playing away from Willi, but after coming away with a 4-0-0 record it was definitely worth it. The guys played hard and we are lucky enough to get Monday off to rest up for our big game with Wheaton College on the 15th.
Just to update you guys on our trip...this past Wednesday we took down Fitchburg State by a score of 5-1. It was a great match and everyone got their chance to take to the field and terrorize Fitchburg's defense. The scoring spree started early when Aaron Smiles played a great ball to Jon DeCasanova off of a corner kick and Jon touched it just over the keeper's reach and into the old onion bag. Soon after that, Cory Tobler sent Matt Furman in on a great through-ball for an easy finish. Still within the first twenty minutes, Jon banged home his second from a quick one-two with Sean Collins.
The scoring didn't stop there, as Brad Fletcher buried a penalty after Cory was dragged down inside the penalty area. The fifth goal of the contest was a late toe-poke by Jordan Clark that left the goalie on his heels during a scramble in the box. The game really allowed our offense to take charge and get some goals under our belt before the conference games begin this weekend. Almost had a goal of my own this weekend, some fancy footwork cut up a defender and I ripped one toward the near post only to have my effort quelled by Fitchburg's keeper...I'm going to get one sooner than later, I promise.
Our other big win took place this past Saturday down at Ramapo College, where the Roadrunners' could not seem to find an answer to our goals from Cory and Luke Capezzone. They were a great team, no questions about it, but when it came down to it Carl Appel and our defense (made up of Aaron, Brad, Mike Radlbeck, and Matt Esposito) shut them down. Another major factor in that game was our depth on the bench. Big time minutes from Nate Mozian, Romero Johnson, Rysuke Imamura and Tom Vear played a major part in the win. Also, some shut-down defense by Jordan, Ryan McCormack, Matt Janco, and Matt Kalmin helped us seal the shutout.
Needless to say, it was an excellent weekend for everyone on the team. It was a huge win and we are really hoping to take the momentum from this game into our first home game this weekend.
Please come out and support us this Wednesday under the lights down at the Mansfield Complex Turf!
Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you all Wednesday night!
By Sean Capezzone and Rick Emery
Hey Guys! Cakes and Rick here!
Pre-season week was been the best we have ever been a part of. All of the players showed up in shape and ready to train. Everyone passed the fitness tests with flying colors and everyone's skills are on point.
The week started off with perfect conditions for three-a-days (misty and high 60's) and gradually increased to the summer weather we grew accustomed to (reaching the low 90's).
We return multiple all-conference selections (Aaron Smiles, Carl Appel and Brad Fletcher) and show a lot of promising young talent with the incoming freshman. With having a young team we are fortunate to return most of our defensive line to solidify the back of the team. The main concern of this season is scoring goals, but with Rick "Nino" Emery up top anything is possible. All jokes aside, we are at a loss up top with the departure of Maxim Fantl and Nick Boretti in the offensive third, but the recruitment of Romaro Johnson, Mitch Power and Tommy Vear give us a major threats offensively. Not to mention, our returning forwards Matt Furman and Corey Tobler, who had a goal and assist versus Mitchell College on Sunday,have really proven themselves over the past few weeks.
We've had the good fortune of playing two exhibition matches to sharpen our skills before the actual season kicks off this weekend at the Babson Classic where we will look to defend our title against MIT and Babson. After the pre-season, it seems our strength seems to lie within our midfield where Sean Collins and Jon DeCasanova (who had a brilliant volley against Mitchell College this past Sunday), have been pingin' passes and shredding defenses. Also, the addition of Luke Capezzone, Nate Mozian, and Kyle Surprenant (among others) give us plenty of speed and skill throughout the midfield.
We plan on spending this upcoming week sharpening our play and tactics in order to be able to have a strong start to our season up at Babson this weekend.
We will be sure to keep you all updated on recent results and give you a behind the scenes look at the team as we look to repeat our Little East title this season.
Thank you for the support!
-Cakes & Rick (Nino)