Aug. 28, 2008
Media Guide | Season Outlook
Friday's Gametracker | Sunday's Gametracker
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's soccer team opens its 2008 campaign Friday night against St. Francis (N.Y.) in the second game of the Navy Soccer Classic, beginning at 7:00 pm at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. The Mids are coming off a 7-8-2 record in 2007 and return five letterwinners from last year's team. Navy will then host Saint Mary's on noon on Sunday for its second game of the Navy Soccer Classic.
"It's a day we have been looking forward to since August 10 (first day of practice). We had a great week in Virginia Beach where we got some good training and built some team unity and it was good to get back together as a team," said head coach Rich Miranda, now in his fourth year in charge of the Navy soccer program with a 20-23-6 record, that includes a 16-8-2 mark against non-conference opponents. "We have put in a lot of hard work and we are comfortable that we have covered all of our bases. There are still things to work on, but we are confident that we are prepared and organized for the upcoming season. We have had good practices. Hopefully it carries over into the games."
Navy will begin its 88th year of college soccer on Friday night and is one of the winningest programs in NCAA history, being one of 15 teams nationally with 600 all-time wins. The Mids are 64-13-10 all-time in season openers, and are 1-1-1 under head coach Rich Miranda.
In addition, Navy enters Friday night's contest with a six-game (5-0-1) non-conference unbeaten streak that includes a win over national power West Virginia last October. The last team to defeat the Mids in non-conference action was St. Francis (N.Y.), on Sept. 9, 2007, in Baltimore, 3-1.
Navy will bring a relatively inexperienced, but talented lineup into this weekend's action. Just three returning players (Adam Pennington - 8; Mark Garcia - 7; Andrew Garcia - 6) scored points last year, and eight of Navy's 11 starters have started three or fewer games in their respective careers. Miranda will likely start with Mike Porcelli and Pennington in the front, Sam Lepley, the Garcias and Chris Marino in the midfield and Chris Anderson, Matt Tapajcik, Matt Biesecker and Scott Robertson in the defensive backfield. Nolan Grebb will be the starter in goal. Lepley, who missed last year with an injury, and Anderson, who was a member of the club team last fall, will be appearing in their first career games.
St. Francis is coming off a 3-9-5 season, but welcomes back nine starters from last year's team. Leading the Terriers' attack is sophomore John Sallhag, who led St. Francis in scoring a year ago with 22 points (9 g, 4 a) as a freshman. A Sweden native, Sallhag was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year.
Saint Mary's was 7-9-2 in the tough West Coast Conference a year ago, and returns nine starters and 15 letterwinners from that squad. Senior Justin Kim paced the Gaels a year ago with eight points (1 g, 6 a). The Gaels suffered a big blow when returning first-team all-league performer Dylan Leslie was lost for the year in the preseason with a torn ACL.
Navy leads the all-time series with St. Francis, 2-1-0. The Terriers won last year's meeting, 3-1, but Navy took the first two meetings by identical 1-0 scores in 1995 and 1997.
This will be the first meeting all-time against Saint Mary's, but Navy is 1-3-0 against the West Coast Conference. The Mids defeated Gonzaga, 2-1, in the 2006 season, but is 0-2-0 against the University of San Francisco and 0-1-0 against Santa Clara.
Friday's game is being promoted as "Family Night Out", where fans can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just $20. For Sunday's game, Friday night's ticket will get you into the Saint Mary's game for free. Tickets are available prior to the start of the game at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #