By Skyler Heller
The University at Albany men’s soccer team looks to recover after a disappointing 2018 season.
After winning the America East Tournament in 2016 and 2017, The Danes ended 2018 with a shutout loss to UMASS Lowell.
The Danes mustered an overall record of 8-10 and went 3-4 in conference play last season. This was the team’s lowest mark since 2014, when the Danes went 4-9-6 overall and 2-4-6 in American East play.
This year’s team will feature a very different roster, as 11 players are not returning from the 2018 campaign, including several program record holders.
For the first time in four years, the men’s soccer team will not feature star forward Nico Solabarrita. Solabarrita graduated as the program’s leader in assists (20) and finished second all-time in both total points (70) and goals (25). Solabarrita led the conference in total points (25) and tied for first in goals (10) and was named to the America East All-Conference First Team in his final season.
The Danes also have to replace goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, who lead the program in wins (31) and shutouts (24). Vitello was also second in games played by a goalie (60) and goals against average (0.98).
UAlbany also graduated midfielder Carlos Clark, who was a three-time America East All-Conference Second Team selection and defender Daniel Krutzen, who led the conference in assists in 2017 and 2018.
Two sophomores, defender Sam Philip and midfielder Hafliði Sigurðarson, are returning to the team after receiving All-Rookie honors.
Philip played in 18 games, started 11, and recorded 2 assists in 2018. He will be relied on as an impact playmaker to fill the void left by Krutzen’s departure.
Sigurðarson started 13 games in his freshman season and finished with 2 assists. UAlbany will lean on Sigurðarson to replace Clark production moving forward.
Isac Hjerten, a freshman from Sweden, is poised to replace Vitello in goal.
Sophomore Forward Austin DaSilva joins the Danes after completing his freshman season at the University of Connecticut, where he compiled two goals and three assists. DaSilva is tasked with replacing Solabarrita historic collegiate career and recorded his first assist as a Great Dane in a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati.
The Danes were picked sixth out of eight in the America East coaches’ preseason poll ahead of only Binghamton and Hartford but had an encouraging start to the season.
Despite the 0-2 start, UAlbany lost both games by a one goal deficit to Cincinnati and the NCAA’s No. 9 ranked team in the country, Kentucky Wildcats.
“We are a new team coming together and these experiences will serve us well,” coach Trevor Gorman said after the game in Cincinnati.
The Danes play five non-conference games before a home matchup against Hartford Sept. 27 to begin conference play.