Men's soccer hopeful in 2000

by Kevin Allen | 9/26/00 5:00am

Maybe Dartmouth men's soccer fans shouldn't be too excited by the team's 3-2 record (1-0 Ivy). But hey, the Big Green's three wins this season are as many as they had during all of last year's tough campaign.

If nothing else, believe that Head Coach Fran O'Leary knows how to win. O'Leary guided the Big Green to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 1997 and 1998, so last year can hopefully be written off as a rebuilding year.

And here's what the team's rebuilt:

Up front, Brad Christof '01, Dan Markman '02, Kapono Chong-Hanssen '03 and Juan Romera '03 are among 19 returning letter winners.

Christof is the most experienced of the four, and will look to lead the Big Green's offense this fall. Christof's 1999 was cut short by a season-ending injury that limited him to just a goal and an assist in 10 games.

Markman and Chong-Hanssen were two of six Big Green players to appear in 16 games last season. Chong-Hanssen netted a goal and an assist in '99. Romera appeared in 11 games and made seven starts at the end of the season, picking up a pair of assists.

At midfield, Co-captain Nick Magnuson '01 leads a talented group. An honorable mention All-Ivy pick in 1999, Magnuson led the Green with three goals and two assists last season.

Also in the middle will be Matt Miller '03, Reis Alfond '03 and Declan Lynch '03. Last year, Miller and sweeper Mike Abbate '01 were the only Big Green players to start all 16 games last year for the Green.

Leading the defense for O'Leary's squad is Co-captain Ben Kennedy '01. Kennedy, regarded as one of the top defenders in the Ivy League, will look to regain his sophomore form when he started all 17 games. Last season, Kennedy missed the final nine games due to a broken arm sustained at Yale.

The ironman Abbate and Zach Schwartz '02 join sophomores Scott Lish, Dougie Polwart, Tom Billings and Michael Vidmar on defense.

Lish was an honorable mention All-Ivy selection as a freshman. Billings, Schwartz and Vidmar will all add depth. Polwart started the first seven games last season in the midfield, scoring a goal and assist before an injury took him out for the season.

In goal, Ben Gebre-Medhin '02 will once again serve as Dartmouth's last line of defense. A year ago, Gebre-Medhin started all but one game for Dartmouth and posted a 1.28 goals against average and .763 save percentage in 1,338 minutes.

Senior Michael Brennan will back up Gebre-Medhin and give the Green depth in goal. Last season, Brennan made his first career start in a 3-2 loss to Providence.

And O'Leary has added five freshmen to his roster this fall: midfielder James Barbosa, forward Robbie Daly -- who scored twice to give the Big Green a victory Saturday against Princeton -- midfielder Seth Eaton, forward Matt LaBarre and midfielder Damien Quinn.