In the early weeks of the new season, the Bowdoin Men’s Soccer Team will attempt to fill the gaps left by four key seniors on last year’s NESCAC-winning squad.

“Graduation from last year leaves us with some holes in personality and position,” Head Coach Scott Wiercinski said. “But we’re excited about how some of the older guys have already stepped up and really tried to stake claim to some of those responsibilities and roles.”

“We still have guys that played in the big games last year,” midfielder Ben Citrin ’16 said. “It feels similar to last year’s team in a lot of ways.”

Last year, Bowdoin’s defense clamped down and propelled the team to three consecutive road victories en route to its first ever NESCAC title. The last two games were decided by penalties after a scoreless regulation and overtime.

“Our defense really did a good job of containing opponents down the stretch,” Wiercinski said. “I think in order for us to repeat we need to step up and score more goals in important minutes. I think last year we created a lot of chances, but we’re going to need the shots to fall just inside the post instead of outside of it.”

This year’s team features lots of talent and experience up front, which should mean more goals.
“We have players that can and need to change the scoreboard, and the good news is they know it,” Wiercinski said.

The players certainly received the message on Tuesday. The Polar Bears travelled to the University of New England (UNE) (1-2) and handily defeated the Nor’easters, 7-0. 
Six different players scored for Bowdoin (1-0), which surpassed its total from last season for most goals in a single game.

Forward Connor Keefe ’16 started the scoring in the fifth minute with a header off a corner from captain Andrew Jones ’16. The senior midfielder then got one of his own thirteen minutes later off a pass from the center of the field by midfielder Matt Dias-Costa ’17.

Bowdoin broke the game open early in the second half, with midfielder Moctor Niang ’19 knocking in a header in the fiftieth minute followed by Jones’s second goal off a one-time shot in the fifty-third.

Forward Cedric Charlier ’17 found the back of the net in the sixty-fifth minute, and Riley Bubb ’18 added another in the eighty-third. 

Finally, Nick DiStefano ’18 converted a penalty in the closing minutes to finish out the scoring. It was the second year in a row he scored against UNE, with last year’s goal coming in a much tighter 2-0 affair.

Bowdoin finished the game with 20 shots—11 on goal—while the Nor’easters finished with four shots and one on goal.

“It was really good to get to get some younger guys some experience,” Citrin said. “We have much tougher games coming up, I think four in a row. But it was good to get a game under our belt.”

Still, the win was encouraging for multiple reasons. First, it showed that scoring may be a strength for the Polar Bears going forward. But it also showed that Bowdoin can win on the road, something the team managed to do only three times in ten tries last year.

“I feel like our team is at a good point right now,” Wiercinski said. “As we move forward we really need to coalesce and come together as a group with a real structure and style, and I trust that we’ll do that.”

The team faces a tough test Saturday, September 12 at Amherst at 2:30 p.m. The game will be a rematch of last year’s NESCAC title game, which Bowdoin won 5-4 on penalty kicks.