Season Preview: St. Joseph’s (L.I.) Men’s Soccer

Skyline Conference, St. Joseph's
Rayneri Ruiz. Photo: St. Joseph's College

The St. Joseph’s College (L.I.) men’s soccer team will kick off the 2019 season on September 2 at home against Western Connecticut State will a new head coach as Mark Lugris has returned.

This season, the St. Joseph’s is looking to improve off the team’s 2018 season when they finished with an 8-9-1 overall record and a 5-4-1 mark in conference play, clinching them a sixth-seed playoff berth. Third-seeded USMMA toppled SJC 4-0 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Returners: Lugris has the benefit of welcoming back Skyline Conference Offensive Player of the Year Rayneri Ruiz of Bay Shore for his senior season. The forward tallied 12 goals and two assists for 26 points in 2018. He is joined in attack by fellow senior Damian Duda of Riverhead, who scored seven times and added six assists for 20 points and a Skyline All-Conference Second-Team selection for the second year running.

The Golden Eagles also return starting keeper Tyler Flaherty of Manorville, defenders Joel Ulloa of Patchogue and Jayvid Parra of Brentwood as well as midfielder Alex Tarach of Selden.

The Newcomers: A total of 10 newcomers join the SJC ranks including seven freshmen. Lugris and his staff have been impressed with their integration into the team and expect them to play integral roles.

Expectations: Many players on the current roster were a part of the 2017 team that lost to Mt. St. Mary in the Skyline Conference Finals. Now seniors, players like Ruiz, Duda and Parra will be motivated to claim a conference title before graduating. Lugris and the staff believe the talent is there but it will come down to execution.