Bison men poised to repeat

By Eric Brod

Senior Writer

Dynasty is a term reserved for the most special and extraordinary teams in sports history, usually teams with three or more consecutive championships. A dynasty may be brewing in the Patriot League as the Bison men’s soccer team looks for its third straight league championship.

The Orange and Blue, led by head coach Brendan Nash, captured the league title while graduating only three seniors. The nucleus of last year’s team remains mostly intact and features 2010 Patriot League offensive player of the year Brendan Burgdorf  ’13 and 2010 league rookie of the year Mayowa Alli ’14. 

“It was definitely an honor to receive preseason accolades, but now I think the important thing is to live up the expectations set by them,” said Burgdorf. “It’s awesome to have hype surrounding the team, because it gets the campus more involved. I think when that happens, we get more excited to play because we know we are representing the school.”

Alli says he learned much from his rookie season that will help him improve this year.

“I would have to say the most important thing I learned last year was that you can’t take any plays off because games can be won by the slightest lack of effort even if it’s just for a second,” Alli said.

The defense, which proved pivotal in last season’s run to the NCAA tournament, remains intact with two-time all-conference defender Andrew Powell ’12, one of six returning starters along with Ryan Sappington ’12 and goalkeepers Tommy Caso ’12 and Marc Hartmann ’12. The back four defense looks to be formidable with four defenders north of six feet tall: Powell, Nader Sawtarie ’12, Alli, and Jermaine Jarrett ’13. Both Caso and Hartmann have extensive postseason experience, each having started in a league championship match.

Along with a strong returning team, the Bison brought in eight first-year players to solidify the team and provide depth at nearly every position. Also new this year, the Bison will not have one set captain, but will rotate the captain armband among the seniors.

The Orange and Blue’s schedule features some high-profile match-ups, most notably when the team travels to South Bend, Ind. for the Mike Berticelli Tournament to face Indiana and Notre Dame on September 9 and 11, respectively. Patriot League play will begin on September 24 when the team plays host to rival Lehigh, and the Bison will host Penn State on October 26.

Despite being picked second in the Patriot League preseason coaches’ poll, the Bison men’s soccer team is ready to make the dream of a dynasty come true.

“We went through a pretty tough preseason, but it was great to see a lot of the guys on the team coming back to camp in great shape and ready to win another title,” said Burgdorf. “No Patriot League team has ever won the championship three years in a row, so we know we’re going to have to take our game to the next level to be the first ones to do it.”

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