Men’s Soccer Looks Forward to Next Year

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team had a largely successful 2012 season, winning the SCIAC regular-season championship, winning 11 straight games and cracking the national rankings before a conference semifinal loss to Whittier College. 

After some inconsistent, early-season performances that included 6-1 and 6-2 losses to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Whittier College, respectively, the Sagehens came into their own with their longest winning streak since the 1973 team won 14 games in a row. Along the way, they beat every other team in the conference, outscored opponents 25-4 and recorded eight shutouts.

The loss of All-SCIAC selections Robbie Hull PO ’13 and Eric Munzer PZ ’13 will loom large. Hull and Munzer provided strength and leadership, allowing the Sagehens to control the middle of the field. Also gone is Danny Nasry PO ’13, who had three goals and two assists while dealing with injuries, and Second-Team All-SCIAC goalkeeper Rollie Thayer PO ’13, who recorded six shutouts, all of which came in SCIAC games.

Still, the Sagehens have much to be excited about. They will return eight starters, including their five leading scorers. Goalie Nigel Brady PO ’15 saw significant time when Thayer was injured and performed well, recording three shutouts and a 3-1-1 record. 

On the back line, Geordie Marriner PO ’15, Mark Raftery PO ’15 and Paul Picciano PO ’16 started alongside Munzer, and they should prevent any kind of dropoff next season. While Hull will be missed in the center of the midfield, everyone around him returns. Second-Team All-SCIAC honorees Arash Mahboubi PO ’15 and Nate Shekita PO ’15 provided creativity and playmaking on the attack. Shekita’s seven goals and six assists were tops for the team in both categories.

“We’re losing some really special people,” Avery Raimondo PO ’15 said. “All of the seniors are phenomenal soccer players, as well as great guys, but we have a really deep squad, so I think we have a shot at replicating this year’s success.”

The Sagehens will also be helped by the return of Guy Thyer PO ’16, who missed the final seven games of the season after suffering a concussion. Despite missing time, Thyer still finished second on the team with four goals. The team will also look for contributions from Harris Levin PO ’14, who collected three goals and four assists while coming off the bench.

The Sagehens will try to build on the strengths they developed this season—stifling defense and a deep offense capable of scoring in several different ways—and they should be fun to watch as they try to defend their regular season championship and make the NCAA tournament.

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