Men’s Soccer Wins Third Consecutive Team Academic Award

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 16, 2017 //

United Soccer Coaches announced that the Curry College men’s soccer team is the recipient of the 2016-2017 Team Academic Award for the third year in a row.

The academic award is given out to teams that earn a collective grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.  The 2016-2017 academic year saw the Colonels check in at 3.08.

Head coach Peter Mendel feels it’s an incredible accomplishment for the program and the players in it.

“I’m very proud of the fact we’ve been able to maintain a 3.0 average for three straight years,” Mendel noted. “That’s another testament to the guys and them putting the work in the classroom as well.”

In his past 11 seasons as head coach for the Colonels, Mendel has tried to manufacture a successful soccer program without sacrificing anything in the classroom.  He said it has been a process but the past three years prove it is paying off.

Also in that span, he has become the winningest coach in Curry College men’s soccer history, further cementing his legacy.

The Colonels are one of five men’s teams in the Commonwealth Coast Conference to win the award which registers as half of the conference.  The other four include Western New England, Endicott, Roger Williams, and Salve Regina.

Curry has three games remaining on their schedule and they currently sit at an 8-8-1 overall record and remain 7th in the CCC. Its final two games will pit the Colonels against the third and fourth-place teams in WNE and Wentworth.

The WNE game is a part of Homecoming Weekend, with all in-season sports teams playing on the campus of Curry College. Men’s soccer will kick off at 5:30 p.m.

Eric Miller’s Late Goal Secures Coach Mendel’s 100th Win

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 7, 2017 //

Giancarlo Orsini found Co-captain Eric Miller with just over 10 minutes to play to top conference-rival Eastern Nazarene for Head Coach Peter Mendel’s 100th career win.

Despite the Lions coming into Walter M. Katz Field 0-9 on the season, Mendel’s milestone did not come easy. Both teams finished the first half scoreless with quality opportunities coming few and far between.

Curry earned four corners but the Eastern Nazarene goalkeeper nabbed the ball out of the air on each attempt, not allowing the Colonels to take advantage of their opportunities.

After the first 45, Curry finished with zero shots on net while the Lions’ lone shot came on a free kick in the 43rd minute. Sophomore goalkeeper Paul DeMaio stepped up and protected his net from junior Nabil Chamoun’s shot.

Mendel felt that his team backed off a little bit in the first half but halftime adjustments called for the Colonels to turn up the pressure.

The Purple and White came out firing in the second half, racking up 20 shots in the period with 13 of them landing on net.

Those shots continued to pile up as the clock bore on, racing towards the 90-minute mark. However, Coach Mendel knew that some adjustments had to be made to get one behind freshman Tim Eddings.

“We knew we needed better service,” said Mendel.  “[Their] goalie played tremendously and he did a great job of catching everything in the air so we knew we had to drive balls a little more and keep him on his line.”

Senior Dave Stapleton used those adjustments as the second half went on but entering the 79th minute, he finally found some success. Setting the ball up in the offensive zone, classmate Giancarlo Orsini eventually found the foot of another senior, Eric Miller, who ripped one past Eddings with 79:32 showing on the clock.

Curry retained the score advantage and stymied any attempts from the Eastern Nazarene offense to improve to 7-5-1 overall and 2-2-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, putting them right in the thick of things with the CCC schedule ramping up.

“We knew we needed this one and I think the guys didn’t panic,” Mendel said of his team. “They stayed within the game plan and I think we are right where we needed to be.”

Coach Mendel now reflects a 100-99-18 overall record after 11 years at the helm, already establishing records for both wins and years coaching. Three years ago, he surpassed the first Curry Men’s Soccer Coach, Jim Kaufman, who registered a 71-80-6 record over 10 years.

“It’s a testament to every player that’s ever been here,” Mendel noted. “Every player that’s put on a Curry uniform is a part of this and it’s a great honor, it’s something that I don’t take for granted.”

After all the dust settled, the Colonels regrouped and headed out to Williams College for a 3 p.m. start this afternoon. Mendel will look to move Curry to 8-5-1 while the Ephs kickoff with a 4-3-1 record.

Men’s Soccer Grabs First CCC Win Over Salve Regina, 2-1

BY STEVEN SOUSA //

The Curry men’s soccer team extended their winning streak after earning their first Commonwealth Coast Conference win over Salve Regina University Saturday afternoon in Milton.

Both teams headed into the game on a three-game win-streak, scoring a combined 26 goals over that span.  Despite the fireworks in those previous games, this game did not display nearly as many explosions.

Both defenses came out solid to start the game and the halftime score showed a scoreless tie. Sophomore defenseman Mitchell Forbes had a lot to do with the Colonels’ defensive performance.

The Boxford, Mass. native had a stellar game, especially in that opening half when he was able to clear the ball in multiple one-on-one battles on his side of the field.

In the final 45, all the Colonels needed was a single goal to separate themselves from the Seahawks. A little over 15 minutes into it, an opportunity presented itself.

Junior midfielder Christian Mancini lined up for a corner kick and directed it only where senior Ben Silvia could get it in the box. Silvia guided the ball with his head into the back of the net to take a 1-0 advantage in the 57th minute.

However, about 15 minutes after that, senior Jared Warren found an opportunity to find some twine for Salve. Junior John Julian sent a through ball and Warren lifted it over sophomore goalkeeper Paul DeMaio’s head for the equalizer in the 72nd minute.

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Senior Ben Silvia stares down Junior Michael Payan before converting on the penalty shot.// PHOTO BY STEVEN SOUSA ’19

Curry wasted no time formulating a response though, and it was again due to the play of Silvia. Hailing from Dartmouth, Mass. the co-captain drew a foul and was awarded a penalty shot just 1:33 after the Seahawks tied it.

Silvia beat Salve’s keeper, junior Michael Payan, and took back the lead for the Colonels with just over 17 minutes to play.

It was once again up to the Curry defense to close out the game and they were able to do just that to earn the first CCC win of the season.

The one-goal performance left Colonels’ Head Coach Peter Mendel pleased with his entire defensive unit.

“They worked for each other, they covered each other, and they did a heck of a job defensively shutting down a team that’s put away a lot of goals,” said Mendel.  “From a whole effort standpoint, the back four and the goalkeeper played great.”

Mendel elaborated that today’s offensive performance, on the other hand, was a credit to the work Silvia has put in over the years.

“Ben’s had a couple injuries here and there but he’s kept the faith, he’s stayed focused,” Mendel noted. “He’s done what we’ve asked him to do and now he’s seeing what happens if you’re patient.”

The Purple and White now sit at 4-1-1 overall and move to the top half of the CCC, joining the rest of the teams opening conference play with a victory.  These Colonels are trying to prove that this year is different, a sentiment Silvia explained after the game.

“I think it has definitely changed from last year and the year prior when we were fighting a lot,” Silvia said. “This time I feel like we are all on the same page, we all work really well together. Our coaches have been pushing us to stay together and I think we’re actually a team this year, we’re getting the results that we want.”

They will look to continue that trend Monday evening, as they will hit the road to Chicopee, Mass. to face Elms College in a non-conference showdown kicking off at 6 p.m.

The host Blazers will be looking for their first win, after starting the 2017 campaign on a 0-5 note.

Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Johnson State, 5-0

BY TYLER MILLIKEN //

The Colonels delivered a dominant performance at home on Sunday afternoon as a complete team effort overwhelmed Johnson State from the get-go.

After picking up their first win on Thursday, the Colonels hoped to end the weekend with their first winning streak of the season. Head coach Peter Mendel was animated during his pregame speech as he let everyone know what his expectations for the game were.

Physicality highlighted the first few minutes of the game as the two teams attempted to set a tone. Both sides had players that were talked to early on and it seemed to somewhat fix the issue. The game had more intensity than most non-conference matchups have this early in the season.  

In the 9th minute, forward Diego Vargas gave Curry the lead with an unassisted goal. He used some impressive footwork to escape a few defenders before scoring from outside the box. It marked Vargas’ second goal in four games this season.

Defenseman Giancarlo Orsini and midfielder Chris Ricca increased Curry’s lead to three by halftime, leaving the Badgers desperate for production.

Despite a great start to the game, Mendel wasn’t satisfied with his team’s lead. He challenged his team to keep scoring against Badgers’ goalie Gerrit Lane, while preserving the shutout.

Momentum continued to swing on Curry’s side in the second half as Ben Silva scored the team’s fourth goal in the 49th minute. He was awarded a penalty shot after being blindsided by a slide tackle.

Ricca scored Curry’s final goal in the 72nd minute, capping off an impactful performance for the midfielder. Throughout the game, he made plays on both sides of the ball displaying some serious hustle on different passes and scoring opportunities.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Colonels put together their best performance of the season. Johnson State attempted only one shot during the game and it wasn’t close to going in. Curry consistently swarmed the ball, breaking up numerous passes.

After the final whistle, Ricca was humble about his breakout performance.

“I wasn’t expecting it but it’s good to get the clean sheet. The whole team did well, I couldn’t do it without them,” said Ricca. 

Mendel expanded on Ricca’s growth at the college level.

“Chris is a pretty solid player. He reads the game well. He just needs to get into the whole college soccer mode, and understand the physicality and the speed of play,” said Mendel. 

Heading into next week’s matchups, Mendel seemed confident about his team’s mindset.

“I think we’re ready to take the next step and take the next challenge. We know the intensity is going to pick up, and we’re looking forward to it,” Mendel said.  “If we have a good week of training, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The Colonels return to action on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Framingham State. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at the Maple Street Game Field.

Men’s Soccer Shutout by CCC Rival Gordon College, 5-0

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // OCT. 23, 2016 //

The men’s soccer team struggled to compete against Gordon College on Saturday and lost 5-0 at home on a wet and windy Senior Night.

Emotions were high prior to the game, as seniors Dan Johnson, Steven DePina, Nick LaPenna, and Kevin Leite all received a flower and were thanked for their contributions as a Colonel. They also led the huddle to get the team pumped up and prepared to play their final regular season game at home.

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Senior Kevin Leite (20) is honored before the game. Photo by Tyler Milliken

Once the first whistle blew, though, it was obvious Gordon was a force Curry wouldn’t be able to keep up with. A combination of speed and perfect communication left the Colonels beat up and down the field. These struggles on defense led to a number of shots being put on goal to start the game, and senior goalkeeper Dan Johnson wasn’t able to keep up with the bombardment.

Just 5:33 into the first half, Gordon’s Caleb Cole placed a corner kick right in front of the net, and junior defender Jerry Williams knocked it in with a header. It was a tough start for the Colonels, who were looking to make a stand against the second-best team in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Goalie Dan Johnson was quite vocal from this point on, relaying different calls to his teammates. However, after the first goal, the Colonels seemed to fall flat. All the emotion prior to the game was nowhere to be found, and the Fighting Scots jumped on the opportunity.

Cole went on to put Gordon up 2-0 at the 12:43 mark, putting a ball right in front of the net for Josh Beveridge off a corner kick. Beveridge put a header that was just barely outside of Johnson’s dive attempt.

Even with a 2-0 lead, the Fighting Scots had no interest in slowing down. Their pressure on offense later created another corner-kick opportunity for Cole. He placed the ball in front of the net for Matt Chartier, who followed suit and put a header into the top right corner, too quick for Johnson to even react.

Gordon continued to launch shots on goal through the rest of the first half, but none were able to find the back of the net, yet, at halftime, the Fighting Scots was outshooting Curry 8-1.

Frustration was boiling over for the Colonels, as they talked over the game plan during the intermission. It was obvious they weren’t happy with their play, but there was still a significant amount of time left.

Once the second-half whistle blew, Curry drove down the field fairly easily for their second shot of the night. Junior midfielder Ben Silvia was able to get a clean look, but Gordon’s goalkeeper made a terrific play to knock it down and clear it out of the box.

Even though the Colonels were showing some fight to start the second half, the Fighting Scots weren’t interested in letting this game get close. For the fourth time on the night, Cole was awarded an assist after his third corner kick of the game found freshman Noah Craig’s head in the box.

The game was beginning to get away from the Colonels, and they knew it. In every facet of the game, they were being outplayed. Johnson noted after the game, that “It’s tough, sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything out there.”

Communication for Curry continued to be an issue all night, as the Fighting Scots broke up poor passing decisions. The Colonels were trying to lead each other down the field but failed to do so successfully. Gordon ended the scoring with another header from Beveridge, this time leading to an assist on junior Josh Cochran’s goal with 34:36 to play.

It wasn’t too soon after this last barrage of goals, that Curry began to find some success on the offensive side of the ball. For the first time all night, the Colonels created solid scoring opportunities in front of the net and ended up outshooting the Scots 6-3 in the second half, but failed to register a goal.

It was a devastating loss for Curry, who was looking to improve their seeding with only one more game remaining on the schedule.

One More Trip: The senior Colonels take to the road with their 6-12-1 record for one more regular-season road trip, to faraway Eastern Nazarene, which is all of 20 minutes down the road.

Work the Corners: Gordon College heavily out-weighed the Colonels on corner kicks, racking up 9 to Curry’s 2.

Save me a seat: Curry goalkeeper Dan Johnson has now racked up 74 saves over the season, good enough for the third-best mark in the entire conference.