BANGOR — Jeff Gettler was preparing for his first game as the Husson University men’s soccer coach against visiting NAIA national power the University of Maine-Fort Kent today at 3 p.m.
“[UMFK] has nine returning starters, they’re ranked fifth [in a national poll], they have 12 Jamaicans, three South Africans and two Trinidadians and it’s going to be 95 degrees. What else do they want from me? Talk about being a gracious host,” quipped Gettler.
The 59-year-old Gettler, who was 231-224-67 during Division I stints at Massachusetts, Lafayette and Richmond, isn’t sure what to expect from his Eagles.
But he likes what he saw in a 2-0 exhibition win at Southern Maine and a 0-0 tie at Daniel Webster (N.H.).
“We’re a work in progress. Our early-season schedule is as good as any nonconference Division III schedule in the country,” said Gettler, who replaced Seth Brown.
“I was more concerned with our ability to defend than attack but we’ve obviously made some progress. The players responded tremendously well with the two shutouts,” he added. “Both games were away and both were played on grass fields. We play on [artificial] turf so that made it more of a challenge. I was very enthused with the showings.”
Husson went 10-9-2 a year ago and won the North Atlantic Conference tourney to earn a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament where it lost to Williams College (3-0), the nation’s sixth-ranked team.
The Eagles graduated three All-North Atlantic Conference players but there are plenty of returnees and an influx of impressive newcomers.
“We have the potential to be better than last year,” said senior goalkeeper and captain Miguel Dominguez, who will be backed up by Mason Smith. “Our backs are returning. We have some great freshmen coming in and our two transfers are good.”
Gettler said Dominguez (2.10 goals-against average last year) has looked sharp and is a “fabulous leader.”
There is plenty of experience in the back with Englishman James Crockford (1 goal, 1 assist), Winslow’s Justin Marks, Ellsworth’s Taylor Wentworth and Patten’s Marshall Davis (1 assist) returning.
They are joined by Oakland freshman Chris DelGiudice.
Wentworth is nursing an injury so midfielder Ethan Qualey of Benedicta could move back to replace him.
Junior midfielder Tyler Metevier of Kittery said the team should be a “little stronger” defensively because the backs have more experience and the newcomers are solid. The Eagles allowed 46 goals last year.
University of Maine transfer Adam Loiacono and Metevier, the team’s leading goal scorer with eight a year ago after a 10-goal freshman year, will man the midfield with Qualey.
Bangor freshman Brian Loiselle will also see plenty of action in the midfield.
Husson will have three all-conference players up front.
Edwin Acosta (5 & 3) was a first team All-NAC pick and said “I’d like to score more this year.” Van Buren’s Alex Martin (5 & 1) was a second-teamer and UMaine-Machias transfer Greg Dawson was an All-Sunrise Conference pick.
Lewiston freshmen Abdijabar Hersi and Ahmed Abdirahman provide quality depth up front.
Martin said Gettler “brings a lot to the table” and they are constantly learning things.
“It’s good to learn some new things,” said Martin.
“I’ve learned so much the last two weeks. I’m enjoying it,” said Dominguez, who added they’ve established good team chemistry.