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Men’s soccer team eyes season opener

Photo by Jim Pierce.

The Northeastern men’s soccer team looks to get their season started on a high note as they travel to Providence College tomorrow to open the 2011 regular season.

After two preseason shutouts, Northeastern is eager to continue its strong defensive play against its Big East foe.

Following their standoff against Providence, which begins at 1 p.m., the Huskies return to action on Thursday, Sept. 1, for their home opener at Parsons Field against the Marist Red Foxes. Kick-off for that contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Northeastern comes into the 2011 season hungry to improve on last year’s record in what is head coach Brian Ainscough’s seventh year at the helm. After back-to-back CAA tournament championship game appearances in 2008 and 2009, the Huskies will be eager to reclaim their spot among the CAA’s elite in 2011.

Led by tri-captains Ryan Burnham, Jeremy Klein and Andre Ciliotta, Northeastern returns a strong midfield core and a skilled group of forwards this season, in addition to bringing in what looks to be an influential group of seven freshmen and transfers. Despite losing eight letter winners, including tri-captains Santiago Bedoya, Matt Sanford and Brendan Ennis to graduation, the Huskies are sure to be one of the more experienced teams in the CAA.

“We’re not going to be a young team. We think we are going to be very seasoned from the goaltender out,” said Ainscough. “The competition for playing time and spots is going to be the strongest it’s been in my time here.”

Senior forward Mike Kennedy, an All-CAA second team selection last season, will anchor the Huskies offense, Joining him on offense will be sophomore Ricardo McDonald—who got off to a torrid start with four goals in 11 games last season before being sidelined by injury—and Don Anding, the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2009.

In the midfield, the Huskies return Andre Ciliotta, Dante Marini, Laurence Braude, Hamadi Cantave, AJ Stueck and Eric Dyer. Now a captain, Ciliotta will be looking to reclaim his role as a key playmaker on this team after spending portions of the 2010 season coming off the bench.

The Huskies defense starts this season in the middle of a transition, as the back line suffered the most turnover from last season. However, the team has an experienced defensive core and will rely heavily on Jeremy Klein, Ryan Burnham and Nikko Lara. Coach Ainscough also brings back Conner Alexander and Top Phataraprasit.

In the penalty area for the Huskies in 2011, Oliver Blum will look to retain his status as first-choice keeper. The hard-working junior will be challenged for time between the sticks by classmate Michael Gallagher and redshirt freshman Jacob Aduama.

“We’re excited about this coming season,” Ainscough said. “Last year a lot of first year players gained valuable experience, and we think that experience will be very useful this season.”

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