Men’s Soccer Posts Two Shutouts

With a new head coach and a crop of great young players, the Colgate men’s soccer team kicked off its season with a win against Fordham and a tie against Rider.

The team may have lost six key players from last year’s team, but the Raiders have many returning players and a new coach who hopes to build a great team.

Head Coach Mike Doherty coached the men’s soccer team for the last 20 years, before stepping down as head coach after last season. When a search went out for a new coach, the team chose a familiar face, Colgate alumnus Eric Ronning.

Ronning graduated from Colgate in 1997 and assisted Doherty for four years. After working at Northwestern for another four years as an assistant and associate coach, Ronning jumped at the chance to coach his alma mater.

“I am very happy to be here and I always enjoyed Colgate,” he said. “I graduated in 1997 and I enjoyed being an assistant under Coach Doherty. I was very excited when I heard about the job opening and I hope to build this program up.”

Not only is there new blood in the coaching staff, but Colgate men’s soccer program also welcomes 10 first-years whom Ronning hopes to mold into the future leaders of this program.

With a large team of 27 players, it is clear that Ronning will have tremendous depth this year and many options to work with. The team also has a great captain in senior Sean O’Sullivan who, although currently nursing a leg injury, will soon be back to bolster the team from the midfield position.

After an intense preseason, the Raiders were ready to begin their season at the Bronc Fall Classic, as they faced off against Rider University.

After 90 minutes of intense play and two tight overtimes, Colgate and Rider finished in a scoreless tie.

“I felt we played a solid first half, but we were a little sluggish in the second half,” Ronning said of the first game. “I was very impressed with the play of our central defenders, [sophomore] Dan Belke and [first-year] Glenn Volk. I was also happy with our goalie, [junior] Doug Litvack, who did not let anything by. It is great that our defense played well and I thought our midfield played a well organized game.”

After a tie in their first game, the Raiders hoped to win on Sunday against Fordham.

The Raiders played another great game defensively and also received a much-needed goal from junior Devin Deane to earn a close 1-0 victory. The goal was assisted by classmate Kevin Toomey, marking the first win during Ronning’s career at Colgate.

Ronning was happy with his team’s play.

“It is great to be able to have two shutouts in one weekend and I am very happy with the play of our defenders, [sophomore] Mike Hensler, Dan Belke, Glenn Volk and [junior] Kevin Toomey. They played a well organized game at the back and they helped Doug Litvack get another shut out. [Juniors] Eli Meyers and Charlie Lambropoulos played great in the midfield. I thought [sophomore] Eric Anton and Devin Deane were great up front and I hope that they will continue to improve. There is still much room for improvement, but it was a solid weekend overall.”

The Raiders finished the weekend with a 1-0-1 record without giving up a goal. For his great play in net, Litvack was named the Patriot League BRINE Defensive Player of the Week.

Litvack missed much of last year due to a head injury and moved back into a starting position through hard work.

In addition, the men’s team is now ranked seventh in the NSCAA/Adidas New York Rankings, up one spot from last week.

Although the Raiders did not lose over the weekend, Ronning still feels that the team has many areas that need improvement.

Even so, Ronning labeled players such as Meyers, O’Sullivan and Lambropoulos as his mainstays in the midfield. Ronning also feels that Anton will be a great forward and labeled him as one of the best forwards in the Patriot League.

On defense, Belke and Volk have already demonstrated cooperation as center backs, showing great promise to help the team succeed in the Patriot League this season.

Although the Raiders kicked off the new season well, Ronning is not thinking about the Patriot League schedule just yet. He is hoping to make a good soccer team first before making any predictions.

The team hopes to maintain its undefeated record tomorrow at Cornell and Wednesday against Albany. The team will also receive a boost from O’Sullivan, who will make his first appearance of the season against the Big Red.