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Men's Soccer Preview: Bobcats blend youth with veteran defense

Patrick King '10 is one primary member of Bates' strong core of returning defenders.

Last year’s senior class on the Bates men’s soccer team was small in numbers but talented. Brent Morin, last season’s co-captain, was named NESCAC All-Conference Second Team for the second time. Fellow captains Aaron Schleicher and Robert Wesley-Munro split time in the net, while the fourth co-captain, Duane Pelz, directed the offense from the midfield.

The situation this year is similar. The senior class, a triumvirate of defenders — co-captains Nate Kellogg (Natick, Mass.) and Clark Winchell (Waltham, Mass.), as well as Oliver Fadly (Lexington, Mass.) — forms the experience to lead this year’s team. With their numbers small, the team will look to its younger players to play large roles.

“We’ll be a young team this year with solid leadership and lots of enthusiasm,” said George Purgavie, now entering his 26th season as head coach of men’s soccer at Bates.

In addition to the seniors, Purgavie named Patrick King ’10 (Gorham, Maine) as another strong defender, and Jonathan Lobozzo ’10 (New Gloucester, Maine), Dustin DiGregorio ’11 (Boxford, Mass.), Tyler Dewdney ’11 (Meriden, N.H.), Chris LeBrecque ’11 (Falmouth, Maine), Dae Ro Lee ’11 (Yongin, South Korea) and Patrick Jackson ’11 (Durham, N.H.) as major contributors. DiGregorio ranked second on the team in goals scored last season with three, while Dewdney and Lobozzo also finished with multiple points. LeBrecque and Lee worked hard to set up plays from the midfield.

With Schleicher and Wesley-Munro gone, the team will await performances in tryouts from first-year goalkeepers Greg Watts (West Chester, Pa.), Brian Goldberg (New York, N.Y.) and Karl Alexander (Cambridge, Mass.) to select the new lead goaltender.

Among first-year players who show promise are defender Ben Kitendaugh (Wayland, Mass.) and midfielder Chris Okano (Los Angeles, Calif.). Sophomore Tim Molnar (Rocky River, Ohio), a transfer student, will vie for a starting spot in the midfield or the front line.

As always, the team’s primary goals are to maintain a strong work ethic, to improve their record and to qualify for the NESCAC tournament. Purgavie looks for “hard work, individual and team execution and discipline” in his team. “The rest is yet to be seen,” he said.

Men’s soccer will open the season with a home game against the U Maine-Farmington at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10. The Bobcats follow with a second home date against NESCAC rival Williams College on Saturday at 2 p.m.