#35 Xavier Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #2 Atlantic-10 Conference
Xavier Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Xavier Team Page


Head Coach Andy Fleming and the Musketeers men’s soccer squad is looking forward to the upcoming 2012 season in their newly renovated soccer complex. The pitch was redone with state of the art artificial turf called FieldTurfRevolution with the last touches being completed last month.  It is a newer synthetic turf that apparently is more durable than previous blends and a little softer so it feels closer to a traditional grass field, “allowing the program to achieve at the high standard that we have come to expect,” said the school’s senior associate athletic director in a recent press release. “It provides one of the best soccer playing surfaces in the country.”  Xavier has pushed their standards almost to the top winning back-to-back Atlantic-10 conference championships in the 2010 and 2011 seasons and looking to make it three in 2012.

2011 Record: 12-5-4, 4-3-2
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Andy Flemming

The renovations to the soccer complex are not the only strengths the Musketeers have going into the 2012 season. Xavier is returning to the new pitch with the exact team as last year and some playing together since the 2010 season. Not just individual experience but experience as a team is the Musketeer’s biggest strength.  Leading the pack is the 2011 top scorer with seven goals, Luke Spencer.  Also returning to the pitch is midfielder Gino Depaoli, who was second in goals on the team last season netting six out of the team total 31.  He also led Xavier in assists with seven. Spencer and Depaoli will be accompanied by brothers Matt and Will Walker who both contributed three goals in the 2011 season.  They played in all 21 matches and started 16, making the Walkers an asset to the Musketeer offense.  The Xavier defense will be returning defenders Matt Hill, Jack McDermott, Nick Hagglund, Andy Kaplan, and Garrett Halfhill who also spent some time at the midfield position last season. In the net for the fourth season in a row is keeper Justin Marshall who has recorded 185 saves over the previous three seasons, allowing only 49 goals. In the 2012 six game spring season Xavier won three matches sweeping Thomas More, Centre, and the Dayton Dutch Lions from the USL professional football club  and did not record a loss as they tied the other three matches against the 2010 NCAA champs Akron, Notre Dame, and Ohio Wesleyan.

Xavier’s biggest weakness is not in the team’s talent but in the upcoming schedule.  Xavier will have to take on Notre Dame, a team that the Musketeers let come back resulting in a draw. After Xavier’s spring season Coach Fleming said in a press release, “while we weren’t as efficient and well coached as I’d like us to be, I felt that our results were solid.”  Fleming and the Musketeers will have time to become more efficient which they will need going into the new season as they take on defending Big Ten champs Northwestern. The Musketeers will also see Virginia who has 31 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, 17 of them under current head coach George Gelnovatch.

Final Projection:
Head Coach Andy Fleming is only going into his third season with Xavier but has already proven his coaching ability with two Atlantic-10 championships and NCAA appearances.  Coach Fleming has put together an elite soccer team.  With his leadership and a rock solid offence and defense, the Musketeers have a good chance of bringing home another Atlantic-10 championship and quite possibly the College Cup. Expect them to have a top 25 slot after a few weeks in regular season play and finish out in the top ten.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Luke Spencer, Senior, F, 7
Assists: Gino Depaoli, Senior, MF, 7
Shots: Luke Spencer, Senior, F, 67
Saves: Justin Marshall, Senior, GK, 62

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#106 Neil Henley