MEN’S SOCCER STRONGER THAN CURRECT RECORD INDICATES

By Leslie Crofton, Sports Information Intern

 

RIC Head Men’s Soccer Coach Len Mercurio’s team’s record is currently 2-7-2 overall, seemingly not the sort of record that a team vying for a conference championship might have. The Anchormen have been playing an extremely tough schedule of non-league opponents this fall, a schedule that Mercurio refers to as “one of the toughest in New England.”

“To prepare ourselves to perform well within our league [the Little East Conference] we have strengthened our schedule,” says Mercurio. “A lot of the games we’ve lost have been close and we’ve seen strong competition. This is essential because the Little East Conference (LEC) is such a competitive league in soccer.”

The Anchormen’s goals for the 2001 season are many, but there is no question that their foremost goal is to be the Little East Conference Champions, a triumph that would also earn RIC an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Anchormen have a solid core of veterans as well as some key rookies who together are striving to reach that goal.  Mercurio sites senior co-captains James Williamson and Pete Ceprano as “very steady players, good leaders who have the tough job of trying to carry the rest of the team to a conference title.” First-year players Scott Main, a junior, and Mike Maciel, a freshman, are named by Mercurio as “instant offense” and “the future of RIC soccer,” respectively. Main is currently the leading scorer in the LEC with six goals and two assists for 14 points. He scored a hat trick in the club’s 4-0 win over Johnson & Wales on Sept. 5. Williamson is second on the team with five points, while Maciel and Brian Schimmel are tied for third with four points each.

Goalkeeper Carlos Pinhancos and midfielders Schimmel, Paul Sousa, and Johan Calderon are described by Mercurio as being “vital, our team’s success depends so much on them.” Pinhancos, a First Team All-LEC selection in 1999, is coming off of an injury plagued 2000 campaign. He has played every minute of every game in goal this season except for 15 minutes in the win over JWU. He has made 57 saves and has two shutouts to his credit this fall.

Coach Mercurio and his assistants Brian Dougher and John Mello emphasize that teamwork and unity are the most important factors in their team being able to capture a conference title. “I have stressed to my players that they need to take a step back as individuals so that the team can leap forward. I have been starting to see positive signs of that type of unity lately, and that is what will produce results,” says Mercurio.

That unity and teamwork did result in a 4-0 win for the Anchormen against UMASS-Boston on Saturday, Sept. 29, the team’s first league win. RIC is currently 1-0-1 in the conference, having tied Little East foe Southern Maine in a scoreless overtime game on Sept. 22. Facing the league’s toughest teams is still to come for the Anchormen, with LEC powerhouses Keene State and Plymouth State on the horizon. Mercurio says, “We’re looking forward to every game down the stretch.”

 

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