North Adams, MA- The 2015 version of the MCLA Trailblazers Men's Soccer team returns an impressive core up front and is poised to contend this year in the MASCAC. The Trailblazers have talent and experience all over the field and if they get solid defensive play, they could find themselves in the thick of the MASCAC race.
The Trailblazers return their top five scorers from a year ago for a team that finished 7-8-3 overall and 5th in the MASCAC with a 2-2-3 record. The Trailblazers captured a first-round tournament victory before bowing out in the conference semi-finals.
The Trailblazers strength this year will be in the midfield and up front as they return three second team all-conference players. Forward Anthony Basile burst on the scene in 2014 to lead the team in scoring with nine goals and twenty points. The dynamic Basile was complemented by Dylan Pereira and Edward Boateng. Pereira, the 2013 MASCAC rookie of the year and Boateng combined for six goals and seventeen points as they controlled the mid-field. The three juniors are joined by sophomore Kwadwo Kusi (four goals last season) that should form a formidable offensive attack for the Trailblazers this season. Senior Tyler Vona is also an integral part of the strong Trailblazers midfield; Vona is another multiple goal scorer from last year returning for MCLA. Khalil Kareh is a newcomer that looks to provide help right away as well.
The Trailblazers under coach Adam Hildabrand are known for their physical and solid defensive play; that has been a staple during his tenure. Hildabrand noted his key guy on the defensive side "Junior Jesse Moore will be the lynch pin of the backline. He has a dogged determination to do what it takes to keep teams from scoring." The defense is going to need Moore to step-up and be the leader with Tyler Russell and William Luke departing from a team that gave up eight goals in conference play last season.
The Trailblazers will also be starting a new goalie for the 2015 season as Matt Robinson graduated. Robinson was a workhorse last year playing all but one game; returning goalkeepers Kamron Anderson and Andrew Haier look to have the inside track on getting the bulk of the playing time for Hildabrand.
With what could be a prolific offense and another solid defense; Hildabrand is eager to get started. "We are very excited about the challenge of the upcoming season. The MASCAC is always tight and we need to be at our best for each game; we have strengthened our non-conference schedule by adding Albertus Magnus, Montclair, and Elms to help us prepare."
The schedule is a good one for MCLA fans and one that will showcase some of the best teams in the northeast region. The Trailblazers will host the annual CIAO Classic on September 12th and 13th and it will be full of quality teams with Union, WPI and Umass-Dartmouth in the field. The MCLA conference home opener is September 19th versus Bridgewater State. The Trailblazers will also face perennial top 25 Montclair St. at home on October 21st at 3:00PM. Montclair is once again in the pre-season top 25 currently ranked #24.
The Trailblazers open the season at home this coming Tuesday, September 1st with Suny Polytechnic at 3:30PM.