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Albany 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – University of Albany
Conference – America East
Coach – Trevor Gorman (5th Season)
Background – The Great Danes were 4-9-6 overall last year with a 2-4-1 mark in conference play. Albany is 22-41-14 overall with a 9-14-3 record in conference play over the past four seasons. In 2014 a relatively young Great Dane team earned the number four seed in the America East Tournament. Their season came to an end last year when they were defeated 2-1 in the tournament by Vermont. In 2014, Forward Afonso Pinheiro (7g, 2a) became the first player from the University of Albany to ever be named the America East Rookie of the Year. Pinheiro along with defender Dominic McGarr were also named to the 2014 All-America East Second Team.  
Offense – Players who were responsible for eighteen of the twenty-one goals that Albany scored in 2014 are slated to return in 2015. The biggest shoes to fill on the offensvie side of the ball are those of midfielder Brandon Wilson who netted a total of twelve goals and three assists and was a four-year starter.  Sophomore forward Afonso Pinheiro who led the Grant Dane attack last year will again be the key ingredient in the offense in 2015. Pinheiro will enter the season with the advantage and confidence that comes with having a year of starting experience under his belt. Juniors Leo Melgar (4g, 2a) and Jonathan Interiano, senior Ivan Martinez (1g, 1a) and sophomore Jake Barros (2g, 0a) are among other returning players who could add balance to the attack up-top. Returning midfielders include seniors Philip Persson (0g, 3a), Anthony Rozzano (1g, 1a) and Martin Gorrie, and juniors Pedro Espindola (1g, 2a) and Andres Sandoval and sophomore Chris Hettler. Freshmen forward Nico Solabarrieta and midfielder Carlos Clark are among the newcomers who could challenge for minutes and add to the offense. If Alfonso Pinheiro continues to progress up-top and Leo Melgar and others are able to step forward and add diversity to the attack then Albany should improve their effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball in 2015.   
Defense – The Great Danes must replace back Dominic McGarr (1g, 1a) who was a four-year starter and ended his tenure at Albany as the program's all-time leader in minutes played. However a very solid contingent returns in the back led by junior center back Bernardo Mattos (1g, 0a) who has been a starter the past two seasons and junior outside backs Luke Palmateer (0g, 1a) who has been a starter the past two seasons and Keith Traut (1g, 2a).  The addition of redshirt sophomore back Jeff Medina who transferred in from Stony Brook but sat out the 2014 season should be a plus. The graduation of Tim Allen who started fifteen contests in goal last year before sustaining a season ending injury means that a new face will be between the pipes for the Great Danes in 2015. Redshirt sophomore Eric Orologio, junior MIchael Pizzuti who started four games last year, and redshirt freshman Danny Vitiello will compete for the starting job in goal.   

Newcomers – Three Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Gormon stated, "We pleased to announce the new members of the program. This is a group of players that we've identified as the right fit for our squad, and we're excited to add them to our returning team."  

Carlos Clark – Midfield – Teaneck, New Jersey – Teaneck High School – Had thirty-six career goals and thirty-two career assists at Teaneck High School. Named league player of the year and First-Team All-County. Plays for World Class FC.   

Reid Conde – Midfield – Manchester, Vermont – Burr and Burton Academy – Four-year varsity starter in high school. Two-time All-State selection. Thirty-nine career goals and thirty career assists. Played for Blackwatch Premier. 

Nico Solabarrieta – Forward – Santiago, Chile, Saint Gabriel's School – Played for the U-17 and U-19 Universidad Catolica club. Chilean youth national pool. 

Noah Waxner – Defender – Dix Hills, New York – Half Hollow Hills East High School – Played for Albertson USSF Academy and the Dix Hills Elite Club. All-League and All-Conference selection. 

Matthew Devine – Defender – Belfast, Northern Ireland – St Anthony Primary – Played with Larne Tech Old Boys and Cliftonville FC and Glentoran.

Moosah Khanat – Forward – Dix Hill, New York – Manhattan College –  A sophomore transfer from Manhattan College where he made three starts in thirteen appearances last year. All-League, All-Conference and All-State in high school.

Eddie Whitfield – Forward – Staten Island, New York – Curtis High School – Redshirt sophomore transfer from Iowa Western Community College. NY post honorable mention selection in high school.    

Prognosis for 2015 – There is reason for cautious optimism heading into the 2015 season due to the fact that the Great Danes return a lot of experienced players including eight starters and fifteen letter winners who've played meaningful minutes. However, Albany will still be a work in progress and improvement must occur on both sides of the ball if they hope to significantly up their win total in 2015. Last year the Great Danes demonstated that the difference between a winning and a losing season can often hinge on a few minutes of play. Albany played well at times but their inability to put together a full ninety minutes of play and lapses late in regulation or overtime proved to be very costly. On eight occassions last year Albany went from winning to tying or from tying to a loss when they allowed a goal in the last ten minutes of play. Greater consistency, finding the right combinaiton of players, avoiding lapses in play on defense, and a more balanced attack look to be among the keys for improvement heading into the 2015 campaign. The pieces are in place for a winning season at Albany in Trevor Gorman's fifth season at the helm of the program, but the bottom line is that their margin for error will be small and a lot of things will need to go right for that to occur. The Great Danes open regular season play with games at home at Bob Ford Field against Villanova and Rhode Island. Wins in those opening contests would be a real confidence builder for Albany and just might set the pace for the rest of the season.  


Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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