Outlook is bright for men’s soccer

Liam Murphy

After two solid victories over Rowan University and LaSalle University this preseason, things are looking up for soccer head coach Larry Sullivan and his Wildcats.

Returning close to all of last year’s 5-13 team, captains Joe Carulo, Steve Leaman and Sean Teesdale look to lead Villanova to a Big East tournament berth for the first time in their Villanova careers.

“Getting an invitation to the tourney is what this team is looking to do this year,” Leaman said.

The Wildcats will be returning three fifth-year seniors, two of whom will help make Villanova’s defense one of the most experienced in the Big East.

John Keleher, coming off a strong spring season, returns as a marking back along with Tony Rod, a midfielder turned defender who can get involved in the attack from his outside back position.

In the middle of the defense sits Leaman, a three-year starter for Sullivan. Anchoring the back is junior transfer Dave O’Donnell. O’Donnell comes to the Main Line from St. John’s University, one of the top soccer programs in the country.

“Dave does some of the same things as Jim [former Wildcat Jim Curtin who currently plays for MLS Chicago Fire] when it comes to dribbling and taking people on,” coach Sullivan said. “He is on a different level than most players.”

Sophomore Tony Watkins will be looked upon to come on and fill in after missing last year with an injury.

The third returning fifth-year player, Carulo, will help build stability in the midfield, along with sophomore Jonathan Lapuski, and as juniors Colin Raws and Scott Rodemer. Last year, Raws led the Wildcats in points.

“Raws moves well with the ball and can take people on for us,” Leaman said.

Playing up top this year will be two juniors. Dan Massimini, the sneaky smooth player from Downingtown, will look to score more goals this season.

Joining him in the attack will be 2000’s leading scorer, junior Chris Edgar, who is returning after an injury-plagued 2001 season.

The position of goalie has been awarded to Teesdale, after two strong seasons as Villanova’s net minder.

Senior John Williams should see quite a bit of time as well under Sullivan.

The Wildcats will open up their 2002 campaign this week with games against Monmouth at home and St Joe’s away, and will open up Big East play on Saturday, Sept. 7 against Pittsburgh here at Villanova.