After a strong competition for the starting position in goal at the beginning of the season, the men’s soccer team has found its man, but he’s a surprising choice.
There has been a vacancy at the Bombers’ goalkeeper position since before the start of the regular season because last year’s starter, Justin Parlapiano ’10, graduated. In preseason practices, it looked as if the competition was whittled down to senior Evan Kirshner and sophomore Jack Van Adelsberg.
But after Van Adelsberg started the first two games and surrendered seven goals, freshman Jordan Gentile got the start against SUNY-Oneonta on Sept. 10 and started the next seven games in the net.
Van Adelsberg said the battle for the starting spot brought out the best in all the players.
“There’s just always healthy competition,” he said. “Everybody wants to play, so everyone’s just going to push his hardest. Everybody’s strongest assets show.”
Head Coach Andy Byrne said Gentile’s ability to control the low shots with his feet is an asset that separates him from the four other goalies on the roster.
“He can punt the ball, and he can kick the ball well,” he said. “And the last couple years we haven’t had a goalkeeper that was really comfortable with the ball at his feet.”
Junior back Ryan Norland said he feels confident in Gentile’s ability to distribute the ball to the other players after he makes a save.
“Any time we’ve really played the ball back, he’s been able to handle it,” he said. “He gets it out wide and long, which is key.”
After he makes a save, Gentile places the ball at the corner of the penalty box, runs toward it from five yards away and kicks the ball in a high trajectory to midfield where the offense can take over.
Gentile has made 24 saves while surrendering 10 goals this season. The Bombers went 3–3–1 in games he started and maintained a 3—0 record in Empire 8 Conference play. He continues to start despite the four goalies behind him on the depth chart, including junior Rich Kinnear and sophomore David Kaminsky.
Gentile said he needs to be louder and more precise with his communication on the field.
“I have to project my voice more to my defenders,” he said. “And I can’t hesitate either, I just have to be straightforward.”
Gentile said Van Adelsberg has helped him improve with his vocal leadership the most.
“They always remind me to come out for a ball and scream something,” he said. “Especially Jack who, when I go up for air balls, always tells me to say it louder, scream it.”
Van Adelsberg said he is confident Gentile will improve as the season goes on.
“It’s not easy being young and being in that position where you have to be a leader,” he said. “But he’s a smart kid, he’ll figure it out.”