2010 Season Preview: Talented And Energetic Bulldogs Ready For Exciting Campaign

The Yale huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Season Kicks Off Against UConn On Sept. 4

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2010 Ivy League men's soccer title probably won't be decided until early November, but the work currently going on at Reese Stadium will play a big role in determining if Yale is in the mix for the crown. The Bulldogs reported for practice late last week and are busy preparing for what should be a very exciting campaign.

"Preseason is a time of tremendous positive energy and it is important to direct that enthusiasm towards shaping our vision and goals for the weeks and months ahead," said head coach Brian Tompkins, who enters his 15th year at the helm. "Using the preseason period to integrate the newcomers into a talented group of veterans will be a key to accomplishing the kind of performance, camaraderie and spirit that will sustain and move the team forward."

The Bulldogs, who kick off the season on Sept. 4 at UConn, feature quality depth at most every position.

"I think there will be a strong competitive attitude this season," Tompkins said. "We have added players who can help us in all facets of our game and we should show improvement in all areas."

Offensively, the top three scorers from last year's team all return, led by senior Brad Rose, who had a team-best 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists) and was a second team All-Ivy selection. Sophomore Scott Armbrust made an immediate impact in his rookie season, tying for the team lead with six goals. Junior Charlie Neil has played 28 games in his career and is a scoring threat. Junior Charlie Paris could earn time up front as well.

Freshman Peter Jacobson (Ann Arbor, MI), who had the seventh most points in a season in Michigan history as a senior at Greenhills High School, should contribute as well. This summer he helped the Michigan-based Vardar Academy U-17/18 boys team to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship by scoring four goals in four games. Two sophomores – Antoine Crettex and Adrian Wright – also will vie for playing time. Crettex joined the team last spring.

Senior Andy Shorten, the team captain, anchors a deep and experienced midfield. He started a career-high 12 games last year and was third on the team with seven points. Three other seniors – Eric Meyer Dale Peterson and Sebastian Serra – will have important roles as well. Meyer has appeared in 42 games in his first three years. Peterson started a career-high eight games a year ago, while Serra made five starts, the most in his time at Yale, and was the recipient of the Bob "Doc" Holliday Award as the team's "unsung hero."

Junior Andy Hackbarth, a two-time All-Ivy selection, has been a starter since the day he arrived. He could contribute on defense as well. Sophomore Kevin Peterson, Dale's younger brother, made his first career goal the game-winner against Central Connecticut last year and should contribute again this fall.

Freshmen Jenner Fox (Palo Alto, CA), Max McKiernan (Louisville, KY) and Cody Wilkins (Chicago, IL) hope to make an immediate impact. Fox earned first team all-league recognition as a senior at Palo Alto High School. McKiernan helped lead Saint Xavier High School to three straight Kentucky state championships, while Wilkins was a first team all-state selection as a senior at Whitney Young High School.

Yale's defense will be young, but each of the returners gained valuable experience last year. Junior Chris Dennen was the recipient of the Frank Dunne Award as the team's most improved player last year. He started 15 games after starting four in his rookie year. Junior Marcus DiLallo and sophomore Frank Shaw combined to appear in 12 games last year.

Sophomore Milan Tica was the only player to start all 17 games. In addition to supplying steady defense, he contributed three assists, which was third on the team, and also had a goal. Tony Wilbar also made an impact in his rookie year, starting eight games.

Two freshmen will compete for playing time on the back line. Nick Alers (San Jose, Costa Rica) played for Costa Rica in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup. Tucker Kocher (San Francisco, CA) was selected to NSCAA All Far West Region team as a senior at University High School.

Yale's last line of defense will be in the capable hands of sophomore goalkeeper Bobby Thalman, who replaces two-year starter Travis Chulick '10. Thalman, who played 45 minutes last year, was an NSCAA/Adidas All Region selection as a senior at Colorado Academy. Junior Matt Chesky will serve as the back up. He saw action in one game last fall.

Tompkins has once again put together a challenging schedule that features non-league games against UConn, South Carolina and St. John's. Ivy League play begins with three straight road games, starting Oct. 2 at Harvard.

"We have a tough schedule and we need to learn quickly from our challenges and successes so that we can constantly pursue our goal of getting better each week," Tompkins said.

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Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity