WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley men's soccer team begins its 2018 season on Friday against Molloy with the first of two games at the Merrimack Kickoff Classic. Two days later, the Falcons will take on Caldwell to conclude the tournament.
Bentley returns a number of key contributors from last season's team that went all the way to the NE10 Championship match as the No. 8 seed, with the addition of a host of newcomers and transfers added to the mix.
Though the postseason run was impressive, head coach Gary Crompton knows 2018 is a clean slate. "We can build on our results from last season and it is important for our group to be in playoff mode from the opening game this season. We had a slow start last season, but if we can play the first month of the season like we finished last season, then we will be in the mix again."
Senior Julian Stewart (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) returns to lead the attack after a tremendous first season at Bentley that saw him earn 2nd team All-Northeast 10 honors. Stewart finished the season with nine goals and five assists, and was on fire down the stretch with eight goals and three assists in the final 10 games.
The team has a core of returning players that will add to the attack in midfielders Chris Caso (Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon), Colby Gould (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) and Diego Lombardi, and sophomores Connor Mote (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) and Kyle Archambault (Uxbridge, Mass./St. John's), who both made a big impact as freshmen last season. Sophomore Jackson Fotter (Gorham, Maine/Gorham), a transfer from UMass-Amherst, is one of the newcomers to watch.
Defensively, co-captain Kevin Williams (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum School) will help marshal a backline that is a mix of experience and youth. Senior center back/midfielder Charlie Lopez (Madrid, Spain) was a key player last season, as was junior Alec Foster (Wayland, Mass./Wayland), who can play a variety of roles and scored a big goal in the playoff clinching win over Le Moyne on the final day of the season.
Crompton hailed the presence of sophomore center back Adam Watkins (McConnells, S.C./Clover), who was named to the All-Rookie team and started all 19 of the team's games. "He is very difficult to beat with his excellent positioning, and he can help initiate attacks with his range of passing and smart decisions on the ball."
In goal, co-captain David Price (Needham, Mass./Beaver Country) returns after a stellar end to the 2017 that saw him named to the NE10 All-Tournament team. "David is a very focal keeper that had a fantastic season for us last year," said Crompton. "He will be a key to our success with his experience and presence that our team will rely on."
The Falcons have the makings of a deep team with a good mix of veterans and newcomers that can use 2017 as a springboard, but at the same time make its own impact. "We invite competition within our team so that players are working hard every training session. Competition for places breeds a fighting spirit within that will translate come game day," Crompton concluded.