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Tim Canon '04
Senior First-Team All-New England midfielder Tim Canon

Men's Soccer Set to Repeat Outstanding 2002 Season

September 4, 2003

2002 RECAP
The Amherst men's soccer team had an outstanding list of accomplishments in 2002. The Jeffs finished 13-5-1 (6-3 NESCAC), won the outright Little Three Championship with regular-season wins over archrivals Wesleyan and Williams and advanced to the NESCAC Postseason Tournament championship game. After securing an at-large bid and first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, they then advanced to the Regional Championship game for the first time since 1997, and finished the season with a No. 16 ranking in the final NSCAA/adidas national poll.

The Jeffs posted one of the longest winning streaks in school history with a nine-game rally that carried them into the NESCAC Postseason Tournament championship game, including five consecutive shutout wins over WNEC, Wesleyan, Williams, Wheaton and Trinity, respectively. Amherst amassed 42 goals on the season, the most in a decade.

Amherst entered the NCAA Tournament, fueled by its late-season streak, and faced SUNY-Cortland in the second round after its first-round bye. After over 70 minutes of play, first-year Joe Gannon netted the only goal of the game and earned the Lord Jeffs a trip to the Regional Championship game.

The Jeffs' season ended in the NCAA Regional Championship game with a 1-0 loss to regional host St. Lawrence. The Saints marched on to the National Semifinals.

Amherst graduates only five seniors from last year's squad. Quad-captains Chris Kane, Roger Boulay, Pat Garvey and Carlo Valdesolo will be missed despite the large number of returnees. Kane accounted for five goals and two assists and was the third highest scorer on the team, while Valdesolo posted the second most assists, with six, adding to his career totals of eight goals and 15 assists. The Jeffs will also miss forward Dave Michener, who had the second most career goals of last year's team.

The Lord Jeffs roster remains virtually intact, with four current or former All New-England players returning; seniors Frank Perry and Tim Canon, junior Andrew Syfu, and sophomore Joe Gannon. "This is a season that could shape up to be quite special with a veteran laden team returning," said co-head coach Milton Gooding. Perry, a two-time Second-Team All-NESCAC selection and the team's active career leading scorer, and Jeff Cantwell, last season's second leading scorer, lead an explosive group of forwards. Gannon, a forward, led the Jeffs in scoring, was named Fourth-Team NSCAA/adidas All-New England and was the third Jeff in as many years to win NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors. He finished fourth in the NESCAC in assists per game (0.47), seventh in points per game (1.53) and eighth in goals per game (0.53). Sophomore Adrien de Bontin provides further depth at the forward spot. Quad-captain Canon, a two-time Second-Team All-NESCAC selection and a First-Team NSCAA/adidas All-New England pick last season, anchors the midfield. Seniors Valentin Burlacu, Josh Holt and Vivian Johnson, juniors Robert Lane, Graham Lake and sophomores Christian Alexander, Ian Lovett and Ben Lavely will join him. Senior quad-captain Michael York provides leadership for the defense along with classmate Brad Coffey who, after sitting out both his sophomore and junior seasons with injuries, hopes to contribute. Also on defense will be Third-Team NSCAA/adidas All-New England selection Syfu, the 2001 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, along with classmates Matthew Langione, Conner Mulvee and Jay Kloppenberg, and sophomore Jeremy Kelley. Sophomore Greg Lockwood backs up the defense in the goal box after leading the NESCAC in goals against average (0.82) and ranking seventh in saves per game (4.64). Junior Dan Glenn is another outstanding netminder and gives Amherst depth between the pipes.

Amherst opens against visiting Salve Regina Saturday, Sept. 6, at 2 p.m. and follows with its conference opener at Tufts. In addition to another tough NESCAC slate, non-conference highlights include home games against Wheaton, Babson and WNEC, and a trip to Springfield. "The NESCAC is as strong as ever with four or five teams entering the season with a realistic goal of reaching the championship game," added Gooding. "It will be our commitment toward playing attacking soccer that will guide us through our toughest challenges. It is a season we all look forward to with great anticipation."