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UAlbany Men’s Soccer – Three Peat or Bust

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After capturing back-to-back America East conference championships in 2016 and ’17, the University at Albany’s men’s soccer team is far from satisfied.

They have unfinished business. The goal is clear — a three-peat.

Last year, UAlbany set a Division I program record with 14 victories, surpassing the 13 it won to tie the original record the year before.

After knocking off Maryland in penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Great Danes fell 2-0 to Western Michigan in the second round.

The Danes said goodbye to five seniors including four-year mainstay forward Afonso Pinheiro as they push toward a third straight title in 2018.

The  São Paulo, Brazil native graduated in December as the program’s all-time leading scorer and was later drafted by DC United in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

This year’s squad (3-4) features a strong core of returning star seniors from that team including forward Nico Solabarrieta, goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, and midfielder Carlos Clark.

With a road victory Sept. 9 versus Brown, Vitiello became the winningest goalkeeper in program history with his 26th win for the Danes.

After leading the team in scoring last season, Solabarrieta scored in the 60th minute against Quinnipiac Sept. 15, moving him into sole possession of second place in program history with 53 career points.

Clark is tied with Solabarrieta for the most goals (three) and is second in points with six this season. He was fourth on the team in both goals and points last year.

UAlbany fell 2-1 to Quinnipiac in its third overtime game of the season, surrendering the game-winner in the 100th minute. It was the second goal UAlbany has given up in the 98th minute or later this season.

The Danes played in just three overtime games all of last season, including the America East and NCAA Tournament, going 2-0-1 in those matches.

“We’re disappointed to lose a game we fought so hard in,” head coach Trevor Gorman said. “We feel like we let it get away from us. We had plenty of chances and created the looks we wanted, but we can’t dwell on today and instead have to run all our attention to Stony Brook on Friday night.”

The Danes start conference play at home against Stony Brook Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Casey Stadium, their first home match in 18 days. UAlbany has lost three of four coming into the conference battle.

After the Seawolves, UAlbany is back on the road for its next four matches.

The early stumbles might be forgotten by playoff time, however. With the seedings for the America East tournament based on in-conference record only, the Danes should be able to use some of the early season heartbreaks to prepare them for the stretch ahead.

UAlbany was 4-2-1 in conference play last season before securing the No. 4 seed in the AE tournament. After knocking off UMBC and top-seeded Vermont, freshman midfielder Andreas Assiotis ended the UMass Lowell’s season with the game-winning goal in double overtime.

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Rob "Lep" Lepelstat is the sports editor of the Albany Student Press. Along with the ASP, Lep works as Vice President of ATV and sports director for WCDB. He's also had internships at CBS/ Westwood One Sports, ABC Television in NYC, ESPN Radio Albany, etc.

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