Men's Soccer Preview: Focused on the Goal

Aug. 14, 2003

JU returns a wealth of experience with 20 returning players, including eight seniors and eight starters from a squad that won 10 games for only the third time at JU since 1979. Head coach Bob Moullin and the Dolphins now have the pieces in place to make another run at the Atlantic Sun championship.

The Dolphins have just missed the past two seasons, losing in the finals of the A-Sun Championship in 2001 and dropping a heartbreaker in overtime in the semifinals last season. The bitter postseason losses have left the Dolphins hungry for a taste of the title.

Leadership and team chemistry will be strengths for the Dolphins this season thanks to seven seniors who have seen a lot of action together, three of whom have been playing together for the last six years (defenders Brett Surrency and Nick Comerford and midfielder Stephen Decker). Two other veterans who have played together all of their lives, twins Richard and Brian Blackburn, and add to the solid corps of returning players.

With prolific strikers returning and the best defensive unit in school history still intact, look for the Dolphins to continue rising to their goal of making the NCAA Tournament.

Richard Blackburn led the team in scoring last season with eight goals and 10 assists en route to Second-Team Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors. Junior Ryan Potts moves up front from midfield after scoring four goals and notching an assist, while sophomore Dion Jagroo had a goal and two assists during his rookie campaign. Heralded freshman strikers Tommy Krizanovic and Kevin Hole, both local products, will add depth up front.

Moullin believes the midfield will be the most competitive positions with skilled veterans Steed, Decker and Brian Blackburn. Also returning are sophomores Jason Alicéa, who scored four goals last season, and Nuno Cordeiro and senior Kevin Flanagan. Sophomores Alex Sisemore and Felipe Munoz will help add experienced depth, while newcomers Fabian Reissner, Brett Wagner and Igor Hasanovic could battle for playing time down the road.

The back line was outstanding for the Dolphins last season, allowing a school-record low 1.08 goals against average (21 goals in 18 matches). Three of the four starters - all seniors - return from the group, including First-Team All-Atlantic Sun selection Nick Comerford, captain Brett Surrency and Paul Kelley. Sophomore Brian Kallman, who saw significant time as a freshman, and sophomores Frank Macias and Mark Fenimore, each of whom had great spring workouts, will help fill the void left by Steve Command, who was an outstanding leader on and off the field.

The Dolphins should once again be strong in goal with the return of First-Team All-Atlantic Sun keeper Greg Williams, who led the league with a 1.14 GAA, the third-lowest in JU history, and 4.0 shutouts in 2002. Williams (76 saves, 21 goals in 17 matches) will be backed up by senior Mike Miller, who played every minute in goal in 2001, but redshirted last season after suffering a foot injury. Sophomore Gerrit deBoer also returns after limited action last season, when he recorded a shutout with four saves in a victory over Lipscomb.

The Dolphins will face what Moullin believes to be the toughest schedule in school history, including every Division I men's soccer program in both Florida (USF, Florida International, Stetson, UCF and Florida Atlantic) and Georgia (Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Mercer).

JU will also face nationally-ranked South Carolina, College of Charleston, Gardner-Webb and host Wofford and Winthrop in the JU/Best Western Shootout Sept. 5 and 7.

In key A-Sun matchups, the Dolphins face last year's A-Sun Championship finalists UCF and Florida Atlantic on the road. In the final two matches of the regular season, the Dolphins host 2002 regular-season champion Mercer and travel to Stetson for the finale on Nov. 1, before preparing for the A-Sun Championship Nov. 13-15 in Macon, Ga.