#38 William & Mary Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

William & Mary Tribe

Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #4 Colonial
William and Mary Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
William and Mary Team Page


William & Mary had another good season in the tough Colonial Athletic Association, but an early loss in the conference tournament ended their hopes for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Four other CAA teams did make the tournament while William & Mary had to sit home and watch. The CAA always seems to be tight at the top of the standings and this year will be no different and a game or two can make a huge difference as it likely did for the Tribe in 2011. Coach Chris Norris does return eight starters and this is a team that has more overall depth than they did a year ago. However, the bigger story is the three players who are not returning.

2011 Record: 10-9-0, 7-4-0
2011 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Norris

William & Mary generally plays solid defense and wins games that way. However, losing keeper Colin Smolinsky and back Andrew Mahan does add some questions. Smolinsky barely played during his first four seasons at William & Mary, but he sure was ready to perform as a senior in 2011. Smolinsky led the CAA with a .774 save percentage and recorded seven shutouts in 18 matches. Bennett Jones, a 6-4 sophomore, played one game last season and is the heir apparent for now. However, the Tribe does boast a handful of keepers who will not give the job to Jones, including freshman David Phillips. The backs should be in good shape even without Mahan. Sophomores Chris Albiston and Michael Teiman gained some valuable starting experience last season and juniors Will Smith and Andrew Hinnant are ready to emerge as leaders in the back. As long as the Tribe can find another keeper who can make a Smolinsky type of impact as a first year starter, William & Mary will again be able to rely upon their stifling defense to be a contender in the CAA.

And keeping the ball out of the back of the net may be extremely important for the men in Green, Gold and Silver. Nicolas Abrigo is gone after tallying nine goals during his senior season. The next highest goal scorer on the team in 2011 was midfielder Ben Anderson and forward John Ciampa with a mere two apiece. The good news is that sophomore Josh West is back after tallying five assists as a freshman. He is a good playmaker and not afraid to take shots either. West has the potential to emerge as the next star of this team. However, Coach Norris may need him in the midfield creating for others like Ciampa. Patrick O’Brien, yet another sophomore, started ten games in 2011 and is another option to emerge as a major scoring threat. A solid group of freshmen will help the overall depth, but it is more likely that last year’s class will step up and play a much bigger role. If they can, in general, avoid a sophomore slump, William & Mary will at least be adequate offensively.

Final Projection:
Coach Norris has a squad full of underclassmen. There are only two seniors on the roster and this team needs to find its leaders. Players who were sophomores and role players a year ago need to become those leaders. Last year’s underappreciated recruiting class did a fine job as freshmen, but they all will be asked to do a lot more this year. But even without Abrigo, the Tribe has plenty of scoring potential. It may take a while for everybody to find their new roles, but this is a team that should be competing for a CAA title when all is said and done.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Ben Anderson, Senior, M, 2; John Ciampa, Junior, F/M, 2
Assists: Josh West, Sophomore, F/M, 5
Shots: Josh West, Sophomore, F/M, 27
Saves: Bennett Jones, Sophomore, GK, 3