Lehrer Era Begins As Men's Soccer Opens Against Iona, Davidson

Lehrer Era Begins As Men's Soccer Opens Against Iona, Davidson

The Crimson looks for a pair of results as it opens the 2013 campaign at home (Harvard Athletic Communications).

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Men's Soccer 2013 Season Preview

The Storyline

The Harvard men's soccer team begins its first season under The Virginia B. And James O. Welch, Jr. '52 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Soccer Pieter Lehrer, as the Crimson takes on Iona Friday night at 7 p.m., and Davidson Sunday at 2 p.m. Iona and Davidson are both first-time opponents for the Crimson.

Watch From Home
Harvard's season-opener against Iona Friday will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network. All of Harvard's home games played at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium will be streamed on the Ivy League Digital Network. For subscription and schedule information, visit the network website.

About The Crimson

Harvard enters the 2013 campaign looking to rebound from a 3-11-3 finish in 2012. Harvard will face seven straight non-conference opponents after battling the Gaels, before Ivy League play kicks off the first weekend of October.

The Crimson returns a number of its top point scorers from last season. Sophomore Oliver White netted three goals in his freshman campaign, while junior Hiroki Kobayashi totaled five points on two goals and an assist. Defenseman David Barna was the team assists leader last season with three helpers to his credit.

In goal, the Crimson has a number of options with sophomores Joe Festa and Evan Mendez having at least 600 minutes of action under their belts entering their second season. Six-foot, seven-inch Brett Conrad returns for his senior season and will lead the team as captain along with fellow senior Kyle Henderson.  

Scouting the Gaels
Iona comes to Cambridge with game experience already this season. A pair of exhibition matches saw the Gaels absorb a 4-0 loss at the hands of No. 5 Connecticut before downing Temple, 2-1. Iona opened its regular season on the west coast, dropping a 1-0 decision to UC Riverside Aug. 30 and drawing with UC Irvine, 2-2, a day later.

Senior forward Franklin Castellanos has been the offensive catalyst early in the season, posting a goal and an assist in the 2-2 tie against Irvine. He leads the team with three points on the year after finishing third on the team with 10 points (two goals, six assists) in 2012. Classmate Samuel Adjei is responsible for the other Iona goal on the season. Sophomore Julian Petrello opened the season as the starting goaltender and has amassed eight saves in two games to go along with an 0-1-1 record.

Welcome Freshmen
The Crimson welcomes a group of seven freshmen to the team in 2013. The newcomers are: Ashi Geberkidane, Alex Leondis, Amahdi Shabaka, Daniel Smith, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Stephen Yen and Pieter Zenner.

A Bit About The Coaches
Pieter Lehrer takes over as The Virginia B. and James O. Welch, Jr. '52 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Soccer in 2013. Lehrer came to Cambridge after a successful stint as associate head coach at California, where he helped the Golden Bears to three Pac-12 titles and five NCAA tournaments.

Assistant coach Jon Delano joins the Crimson staff after serving as the director of soccer at Dominican, his alma mater. Goalie coach Darren Murray is in his first season with the Crimson after two years at Boston College, and director of soccer operations Drew Chrostek last served as a grad assistant at nearby Northeastern. A.J. Soares, who played under Lehrer at Cal and now plays for the New England Revolution of the MLS, is also on staff as a volunteer assistant. 

Friday At The Half
The 2013 Ivy League champion women's indoor track and field team will be presented with its championship rings in a special halftime ceremony this evening. Harvard, which hosted the 2013 Heptagonal Championships at Gordon Indoor Track, captured its first league title since 2000 by edging Cornell by a 4.33-point margin. The team would go on to have three members earn All-America status, and head coach Jason Saretsky was dubbed USTFCCCA Northeast Region Women's Coach of the Year.

Scouting the Wildcats
Davidson has started the season off with a 1-0-1 mark. To continue their 15-year season-opener unbeaten streak, the Wildcats fought to a 1-1 draw with Navy at home. Davidson collected its first win on the season when Marshall came to town Sept. 1, scoring a 2-0 shutout victory.

Max Pragnell and Matt Pacifici are both off to hot starts for Davidson. The goalie Pacifici has only given up the one goal to Navy and already has his first shutout under his belt only two games into the season. In addition to assisting on both goals in the win against Marshall, Pragnell also assisted on the tying goal in the Navy game.

Harvard vs. SoCon
The Crimson has only played one other Southern Conference opponent. Furman has been evenly matched with Harvard, as the all-time series stands at 1-1-1. In 1994, Harvard got the short end of the stick by way of a 6-2 loss at home. The recent meetings in 2004 and 2005 proved to be better outcomes for the Crimson, as Harvard topped Furman, 1-0, in 2004 and played to a 1-1 draw in 2005. 

Harvard vs. MAAC
Harvard has seen plenty of success facing Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents. With an overall 12-1-2 record in games against Monmouth and Fairfield, the Crimson has been seeing action against MAAC schools since 1995. Harvard has not lost to a MAAC opponent since 2000 when it dropped a 2-1 game at home against Fairfield.