Aug. 12, 2008
By Michelle Bradley
Special to GoHolyCross.com
The Holy Cross men's soccer team enters the 2008 season coming off an impressive 2007 campaign in which it posted an overall record of 8-6-4 and won the Patriot League regular season title with a 4-0-3 record. The championship was the fifth in the program's history.
Eight returning starters will be the core of this year's team. The Crusaders have 22 total returning letterwinners and welcome six incoming freshmen.
"What is unique about this particular group is their character," said head coach Elvis Comrie. "They have tremendous collective character and great team spirit. There is obviously talent with the guys that can make a difference on the field, but the most significant difference is their character."
Sophomore Alex Schweitzer will also be expected to continue his efforts on offense. During his debut season, he appeared in nine games and scored two goals, including one game-winner. Junior Wesley Laine will also look to contribute up front for the Crusaders.
Other top returnees are sophomores Matt Beckley, Philippe Candido and Tom Wilhelm, who will get the opportunity to showcase their abilities in the midfield that they displayed last year during their first season with Holy Cross.
Sophomore Tom Van Grinsven also looks to be a key contributor for the Crusaders, after appearing in 10 games and making five starts last season. Senior Peter Siclari, junior Peter Whooley, and sophomores James Imbriani and Henry Hulick will also contribute to the Crusaders' outstanding defense.
"With each game, he got much better," said Comrie. "He gave us a definite sense of security back there that we did not have the past several years."
To maintain the toughness Holy Cross showed in and out of the Patriot League last year, the Crusaders will face their hardest schedule in 10 years. The 2008 schedule includes five non-conference games against schools which took part in the 2008 NCAA Tournament: Boston College, Central Connecticut, Harvard, Massachusetts and Providence. "It is certainly going to be a challenge, but it is going to make us better," said Comrie.
The Patriot League will be competitive as always, including tremendous improvements with the introduction of scholarships and full-time assistant coaches into the league.
"The league has certainly improved, and the coaches are working even harder now on the recruiting trails," said Comrie. "This past year it was very obvious that the league had improved tremendously, in particular with the overall quality of the players that we came up against."