While the men’s soccer team started the 2010 season with an identical result as the 2009 campaign, a double-overtime 1–1 draw against SUNY-Geneseo on Sept. 1, this year’s squad is already making changes.
With just three games under its belt, the team is still adapting to a new style of play that places more emphasis on attacking and communication. The Bombers are also experimenting with a 4–4–2 formation that is structured to play to the offensive and defensive strengths of the team this season.
“We have a lot of talent based on the kids that play in the midfield,” senior co-captain Jeff Geyer said. “So we put a lot of our players there to be able to use their strengths and also build upon what we can do in the midfield and turn it into our strengths as we transition into attack and try to score.”
Senior co-captain and midfielder Matt Baluzy said the Blue and Gold are approaching the game differently this season.
“Our style of play definitely [has changed],” Baluzy said. “Because of the players we have, we’re a little more aggressive than in the past.”
The Bombers’ depth is already apparent as several athletes have made early contributions in roles vacated by last year’s seniors.
“We have younger guys stepping into key roles so they really already have that experience,” Baluzy said. “We’re more in shape and more in tune to keeping our shape and moving the ball at a quicker pace.”
Though the squad has practiced with the new formation, the Bombers used last season’s 4–2–3–1 formation at the Doug May Classic last weekend in Rochester, N.Y.
Geyer said the team is working to determine where everyone falls into place on the field based on each players’ strengths.
“We’re trying to figure out what ways work best, between getting the ball with the feet, or if certain people are playing forward that have physical advantages, we can play the ball down the line and in the air to them,” Geyer said.
The Blue and Gold will look to key players to set the tone for the team. Geyer said junior defensive back Matt Anthony, who stepped up to keep the defense organized against Geneseo, and sophomore midfielders Jack and Dan Shirley are players the team will look to impact the field this year.
The Bombers are 0–1–2 for the season but have yet to give up more than one goal in a game because of the strength up and down the roster, senior goalie Justin Parlapiano said.
“This year we have a lot of talent that used to come off the bench,” he said. “So we have a lot of players who can manage our style of play.”
As the Bombers practice their 4–4–2 formation, getting the new changes to work on the field in actual game situations will take time.
With the season barely underway, the Blue and Gold are still fine-tuning their new strategy. Geyer said the team’s game plan for last weekend’s tournament was to continue working on areas that the team is shifting around.
“We’re hoping to try a couple new things,” Geyer said. “But we want to build on what we’ve been doing in practice … and we want to push ourselves to see if we can get the most out of it.”