|SUNDAY, SEPT. 1 // 1 PM
CLEAN HARBORS STADIUM
BUZZARDS BAY, MASS.
BOSTON – For the second straight season the Suffolk men's soccer team will tangle with Mass. Maritime on day one of the season as the Rams head to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, Saturday, Sept. 1 for their season opener. Game time is set for 12 p.m. at Clean Harbors Stadium.
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Suffolk found its way to the GNAC Tournament for the fourth consecutive season and 17th time overall last season as the eighth seed after going 4-5-1 against conference counterparts. The Rams could not escape the quarterfinals however, to end the season shy of double digit wins at 9-7-1 overall.
GUESS WHO'S BACK
Nearly all of Suffolk's offense from last season's unit that scored 38 goals is back paced by second-team selection Christian Restrepo, who found the back of the net nine times last season and set up six other strikes. The junior will once again look to led the offense and receive help from classmates James Fisher (6g, 2a), Felipe Ucros (4g, 5a) and senior Jordan Casey (3g, 3a).
NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES
Although there are 21 returners on the Rams' roster, the squad added a handful of new boots to its line-up over the off season. There will be seven true freshmen making their blue-and-gold debuts – Leonardo Acosta, Jacob Barrows, Tom Bennett, Andrew Collari, Federico Gatti, John Heeran, and Alexander Heghinian -- and a pair of international newcomers in sophomore Gabriel Perez and junior Diego Serani.
Suffolk's 30-man roster is comprised of national and international student-athletes mainly Bay State locals with half of the Rams calling Massachusetts home. A trio hails from both Connecticut and Florida with Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York represented by one student-athlete each. Internationally, there are two natives of Ecuador and one player coming from Guatemala, Italy and Scotland, as well.
The Rams are majorly made up of underclassmen with the Class of 2021 (sophomores) boasting the most members with 11 and seven rookies joining the ranks. As far as veterans go, there are eight juniors and four seniors.
- Suffolk snapped a four-year season opening losing skid last season with a 2-1 win over Mass. Maritime.
- Overall since 2002, the Rams are 10-6 in the first test of the year.
- The Rams have locked up a victory in game one of the season in shutout fashion four times since 2002. The last time the blue-and-gold blanked its opponent in the first contest of the year was a 5-0 triumph over Eastern Nazarene in 2007.
- On the flip side of things, Suffolk has been kept off the scoreboard twice in game one. Framingham State is the last opponent to hold the blue-and-gold scoreless in the season debut, doing so in 2014 by a 4-0 margin.
- Suffolk will face Mass. Maritime for the second time in the season opener and second straight season, dating back to 2002. The Rams 1-0 when playing the Buccaneers in the season debut since the 2002 campaign.
PRESEASON POLL POSITION
Back from its trip abroad, the Suffolk men's soccer team were picked to finish fifth in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference's (GNAC) Preseason Poll.
|2018 GNAC MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES' POLL|
1. St. Joseph's (Maine)
2. Johnson & Wales
6. Colby Sawyer
8. Albertus Magnus
9. Anna Maria
12. St. Joseph (Conn.)
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|2017 GNAC RECORD
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MORE READING: Men's Soccer Predicted Fifth in GNAC Preseason Poll
Prior to the traditional preseason, Suffolk traveled abroad Aug. 4-12. IN the Rams inaugural foreign four, they visited London, Lichfield and Staffordshire. Over the nine-day journey, they competed in matches, enjoyed a top English Premier League game, toured and trained at St. George's Park, the training center and home to England's national team, and took in the English culture.
Suffolk men's soccer will be led by a foursome of upperclassmen will take on the leadership role as captains this season with seniors Jordan Casey and Alex Desaulnier and juniors Jarrett Davis and Jackson Hines sharing the post.
MORE READING: Men's Soccer Names Upperclassmen Quartet Captains
Mass. Maritime welcomes back a wealth of experience from last season in which it went 6-11-1 overall.
Among the seven returning starters is Adam Crawford who paced the Buccaneer scoring parade in 2017 with five goals and three assists. Crawford will be backed up by a strong attack featuring transfer midfielder Ben Cook and fellow midfielder Brendan Gawron (2g, 1a).
Three different sets of gloves are fighting for the opening day nod in net in freshmen John Murphy and Mitch Hardy and sophomore Kevin Lynch as the Buccaneers graduated their starting keeper in May.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Dating back to 1989, the series between Suffolk and Mass. Maritime is led by the Buccaneers, 7-3. The Rams renewed the rivalry with the Buccaneers last season and are on a two-game win streak versus the academy.
Suffolk takes one day's rest before wrapping up Labor Day Weekend Monday, Sept. 3 in its home opener against Framingham State. The non-conference clash is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. at James A. Sartori Stadium at East Boston Memorial Park.