By Cory Nidoh
The East Stroudsburg University men’s soccer team opened the season in West Virginia with a loss to Shepherd by the score of 2-1 last Saturday.
The Warriors enjoyed an early lead when junior midfielder Otavio Caproni scored on a penalty kick.
However, ESU’s defense faltered allowing two goals in less than a minute in the second half as the victory slipped away.
It was a game of firsts in that it was the inaugural match between the two teams and also in that five Warriors made their debut.
The opening game marked the first of four games the Warriors will play in the first week of the season.
The team will visit Felician before making their home debut on September 13 against St. Thomas Aquinas. September 13 is also Alumni Day.
Coming off just a two-win season including a lone conference win, the Warriors were ranked 11 out of 12 in the preseason PSAC Poll.
However, they are looking to return to the powerhouse form they had spanning from 1992 to 2003, when they won 11 of their 19 PSAC championships.
Fourth year head coach Rob Berkowitz will have a lot of different faces this season with just three starters returning.
Two of the newest members of the team are local products. Freshman Christian Bukowski attended Stroudsburg and was an All-State player.
Along with Bukowski, sophomore Andrew Ficco transferred from Lynn University in Florida and was a part of their 2012 NCAA Division II national championship team.
He was a Pocono Mountain East Panther and an All-Mountain Valley Conference player.
ESU will begin their conference schedule with road games against Gannon and two-time defending NCAA Atlantic Region champion Mercyhurst before coming to Eiler-Martin Stadium to host Bloomsburg later this month.
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