Dolphins Look to Make Some Serious Noise on the Soccer Field
by Frank Costagliola
After a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the CUNYAC finals last season, fifth year Head Coach John Tardy is ready to lead his team to an NCAA tournament appearance this year.
The men’s soccer team got off to one of its worst starts in school history last season. The club managed to lose their first six games and struggled to produce any sort of offense. Between injuries and other complications, Coach Tardy’s team took a long time to get into mid season form.
“We had a couple key injuries very early in the year to CUNYAC All Stars Jacob Szumanski and Nermin Kurtesi, who are also two of our captains [and] we were also missing Mohamed Nado and Vasyl Fedortsi early on in the year,” said Coach Tardy.
“ Once we were able to add those guys to the mix and get players settled in their roles, we were able to start producing.”
The team would finally get back on track after their sixth straight loss.
The team finally began to play to their full potential when they defeated NJ City University 6-1. After scoring only four goals in the previous six games combined, the Dolphins hit the back of the net a total of six times against NJ City.
The victory over NJ City was the turning point for the Dolphins last season as CSI would go on to win eight out of their next nine games. The Dolphins would ultimately go on to finish the season with a 10-9-1 record overall and managed to salvage a season that didn’t start as expected.
As for this year, Coach Tardy is the most optimistic he has ever been coming into a season. “Although we are losing three huge contributors on the offensive side of the ball we have added a great freshman class,” said Coach Tardy. “With everyone playing at their full potential we have the potential to have one of the better seasons in school history, as well as my time here at CSI.”
While it might be Tardy’s fifth season as the Dolphins’ Head Coach, this is the first “true” year he will be recruiting freshmen, making it truly a team of his own.
“For the first time it’s all kids who have bought into the program’s philosophy,” said Tardy. “And they [are] ready to take the program to the next level.”
Coach Tardy added a few new freshmen to this year’s team who he believes are poised to make an immediate impact on the field.
Staten Island natives and SI Advance all-stars Ryan Layman and Bryan Bustos are some of the top recruits from this year’s freshman class.
They are talented young players who can really help the Dolphins win this season. Furthermore, Queens native Chris Li and New Brunswick native Jake Foedles, who are also both freshmen, look to compete for a starting position this season.
As for the players returning, Coach Tardy expects all of them to play an even bigger role on the team. CUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year and Captain, Ruben Diaz, was a rock the team could lean on last season and looks to continue to do so this year.
As for the offensive side of the ball, Tardy has his eye on now sophomore Phil Lefkowitz to make the jump from a great player to an elite one.
“He has all the tools to be an elite collegiate player,” said Tardy. “With the right attitude, mindset, and work rate, very few teams will be able to keep up with him defensively.”
With returning players like Jacob Szumanski, Nermin Kurtesi, Vasyl Fedortsim, and Mohamed Nado still on the team and with the addition of the freshmen, the Dolphins have a nice blend of old and new players.
The freshmen and returning players alike can benefit from one another’s presence on and off the field.
Coach Tardy believes he has something special with his team this season and has eyes set on the bigger picture.
“I think we are at the point now where anything less than an NCAA appearance is a disappointment,” said Tardy.
“ The amount of time and the sacrifices these boys have made should reflect in this year’s results.”