Molloy men’s soccer coach Danny Longo is full of optimism as the Lions return the majority of their lineup and add three key players after finishing 7-10 overall (3-5 East Coast Conference) in 2012.
“We’re coming off a fairly good year,” Longo said. “A goal here or a goal there, and we’re 10-7 instead of 7-10. With the veteran leadership we’re bringing back, along with some guys we didn’t have last year, we can be a strong team.”
The Lions return their top two goal-getters in senior forward Dan Brown, a Second Team All-ECC selection, and senior midfielder Mario Gagliano. Both found the net seven times last season. Brown, a captain, also led the way in assists with eight for a team-high 22 points. “He’s unselfish, has quick feet and can beat defenders one-on-one,” Longo said. “He’s been considered a top player here from the beginning, and last year he really came into his own.”
Longo is eager to see how Brown and redshirt freshman Nyder Chardonnette develop chemistry up front. Longo said Chardonnette, the 2011 Nassau County High School Player of the Year out of Uniondale and an All-American, is the fastest player he’s ever coached. “He’s lightning,” Longo said. “He’s a breakaway threat who’s going to have plenty of chances to score.”
Senior Tom Garcia will also contribute up front. In addition to Gagliano, who could start or provide a spark off the bench, the midfield returns senior Jovani Ramos (three goals, three assists) and junior Mathias Coni (four goals.) Joining the group is talented junior transfer Hamza El Otmani, who was part of back-to-back national championship teams at Tyler Junior College in Texas.
On the defensive side, the health of senior captain Anthony Morais, who has missed two straight campaigns, is vital to the back row’s success. Senior Stephen Reyes is a steady defender, and junior Dane Leavy is also expected to start. In goal, Longo said junior Justin Corke has something to prove and looks to be at the top of his game.
Lady Lions can rebound off tough year
Injuries and offensive struggles resulted in a disappointing 4-10-1 record for Molloy’s women’s soccer team 2012, but coach Longo believes the Lady Lions can turn things around quickly with a clean bill of health.