Men’s Soccer Kicks Off Season at Home with Warrior Invitational

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The Merrimack men’s soccer team begins the 2010 season with a pair of home matches. The Warriors will take on Post University in the first game of the year, Sept. 2, as part of the third annual Warrior Invitational. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start time. Merrimack will also host Dominican University in the final game of the event, Sept. 4., at 4 p.m.

Head Coach Tony Martone’s team is coming off of an 11-7-1 season a year ago. The Warriors were eliminated from the Northeast-10 quarterfinals by Southern Connecticut State last season, falling 2-1. Merrimack returns 17 players from the 2009 squad and adds eight for the year ahead.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at this year’s team, who was picked to finish fifth in the Northeast-10 Preseason Poll.

Strikers: The Warriors return the reigning Northeast-10 Player of the Year, Robbie Sabadoz. Sabadoz notched 19 goals last season, tying a program record. Sophomores Olof Lindhe and Nelson Santos Da Graca both return for Merrimack. Lindhe tallied three goals on the year and dished out five assists. Santos Da Graca was one of two players to start all 19 games last season, scoring two goals along the way. Newcomers Francis Mulkern, Daniel Holland and Franklin Pena will add depth to the Warriors’ offense.

Midfielders: Merrimack brings back a solid nucleus of midfielders for the 2010 campaign. Junior Evan Burokas buried two goals in 2009 and recorded seven assists, while starting every game. Jimmy Goncalves, who played in every game, and Elvert Bodden, who saw action in 18 games last year, also return for their junior seasons. Others returning to the Warrior midfield are Nick LoCoco, Ben Paradis, Victor Plaza, Nick Beal, Matt McFadden and Derek Simpson. Four new faces will look to see time at the midfield position: Rafael Cabral, Paul Correia, Brian Clevesy and Kennedy Ndamba.

Defenders: The Warriors’ return three veterans to the backline. Senior Adam Leone will anchor the defense after making 16 appearances and 15 starts a year ago. Leone also pitched into the offense last season, notching a goal. Along with Leone, Alejandro Fuchs and Sam Nunes return for their second season with the Blue and Gold.

Goalkeepers: Between the pipes, Merrimack will have three netminders vying for time this season. Senior Kevin Joyce made seven starts last season, helping the Warriors earn four victories with him in goal. Junior Evan Berube and rookie Mattias Drummond give Merrimack depth at the position.