The Gannon University men’s soccer team aims to improve on its 13-6 record from last season and take the next step in the NCAA tournament.
Coach Rob van Rheenen said the team has had flashes of brilliance in practices, but it needs to remain consistent.
Leadership has always played a big role on a team that has many players coming from different countries. Van Rheenen said he has looked to seniors for additional leadership.
“Sean Pike is one of our leaders and captains,” van Rheenen said.
Pike, a senior midfielder, logged the third highest amount of minutes on the pitch last season with 1,646. Pike scored five goals and tallied six assists, with plans to improve on his efforts.
Robbie Bennett, a junior forward, led the team with 10 goals and six assists last season. Alex Perri, a junior midfielder, plans to help with the offensive effort and improve on his seven goals and four assists from last season.
Jason Barbarino, a senior goalkeeper, hopes to continue his dominance between the goal posts. Barbarino tallied 107 saves last season while starting all of the team’s 19 games. He produced a 1.28 goals against average and an outstanding six shutouts.
Van Rheenen said the goal remains, as it does every year, to compete in the NCAA tournament. He added that there are plenty of talented freshmen on the team that need to adapt Gannon’s style of play to make an impact on the field early in the season.
These players will have that chance when the team kicks off its season at 7 p.m. Friday against the University of Charleston at Gannon University Field. The Knights continue their weekend action at home at 2 p.m. Sunday against Notre Dame College.