• Check out the Free Press founder's new Rhode Island/New England sports blog
  • http://providencesportsscribe.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 In Review: Men's Soccer

Mad finish for the local boy; is the future now?
They came. Their fans saw hors devourers-sized memories unfold through the compact autumn. They calmly curtained it all circa Thanksgiving.

Yeah, that –in short- has fast shaped into the seasonal custom for the Friar Footballers. After gnashing their way to a 9-6-2 overall regular season transcript and home privileges for the preliminary round of the Big East Tournament, the 2007 PC Men dropped their first post-season match –scheduled for an untimely 1:00 Wednesday slot on November 7- by a 2-0 count to Cincinnati.

Seventeen days later, while the campus’ peerless hoops hype was taking effect at the newly renovated Dunk, the kickers politely excused themselves to Virginia and submitted to Old Dominion 1-0 in the national tourney. It was, on a virtual defining front, their third consecutive pair of season-spelling back-to-back blank-slaps.

For the outgoing class of 2008, led by statistical and emotional fireball Ryan Maduro of Bristol, the approach to both tournaments this year was a notch below the bars set in 2005 (no typo: 6-3-8 going in) or 2006 (12-5 through regular season action). Straightening out for the stretch drive to go 4-1-1, including a pleasant 2-2 knot with mighty Notre Dame and a 1-0 road overhaul of Boston College, all spilled over with the advent of November.

But the collective output was ideally distant from their no wins, 5 goals, 16 losses freshman finish in 2004, a campaign which Maduro had –maybe not so coincidentally- missed out on.

Only just grinding out career data of five goals and sixteen points and a runaway team-leading four game-clinching strikes and 56 stabs at the net, Maduro continued to haul in relics for his now stone-fused legacy. Less than three weeks after Glay Field shut down for a little less than another human pregnancy, the captain doubled his franchise-distinctive trophy rack with a repeat mention on the All-Big East First Team and All-Northeast Second Team.

With no new Ocean State-bred strikers yet told of, Maduro’s peerless punch and another four-pair of cleat tracks will be left via Alex Bury, Michael Narcisso, Matt Otte, and Hadrien Toure.
Meantime, a presumed contingent of 19 Friars is bound to return for 2008. And should the likes of Jonathan Medcalf, inclined to step up as a junior after two seasons as Maduro’s attacking zone exec-VP, soon-to-be-senior goalkeeper Timothy Murray, and even late-blooming rookie eye-catcher Alex Redding keep their pace, there should be no hints of a 2004 relapse.

Murray took the full-time backstopping job this year in place of Chris Konokpa, guzzling every last minute worth of playing time and extracting seven shutouts to match the 2006 tandem total (Konopka with 6, Murray 1). On the other hand, PC was also on the receiving end of seven lemon-based doughnuts.

When they were clicking offensively, Medcalf and Redding both fiercely penned their Maduro apprenticeship applications through the latter half of the year. Medcalf equaled Maduro’s five-goal log. Redding, at first empty and often bench-bound, inserted two game-winning strikes of his own (one against BC, the other in an overtime epic against Seton Hall) and matched still-incubating veterans Justin Kahle and Matt Marcin with seven points.

By pure statistical comparison, Redding’s pace is a touch ahead of Maduro’s so far. How firmly he and Medcalf will spread their web, though, will likely be the deciding factor in the Friars’ pursuit of a next-step upheaval in 2008.

No comments: