The Fordham University men’s soccer team has gotten the fall season off to a flying start with the Rams ranked 14th in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), as of Sept. 12. The Rams are also ranked in two other polls, placing 24th in the Soccer America College Top 25 poll and 28th in the poll by College Soccer News.
Regionally, Fordham is the NSCAA’s top-ranked team in the Mid-Atlantic region, and the Rams garnered the top spot in the Acquista Trattoria/BigAppleSoccer.com poll, which ranks local teams against each other.
Head coach Jim McElderry’s Rams opened the season with a bang in August, traveling to the University of South Florida and knocking off the then ninth-ranked Bulls, 3-2. It was the first win for a Fordham men’s soccer squad over a ranked team since the 2003 squad defeated 20th-ranked Dayton.
Fordham used that huge win as momentum, opening the season with a 4-0-1 record, the best season start since 1987, when the team began the year 5-0-1. Besides South Florida, the Rams have defeated Columbia, Army and the New Jersey Institute of Technology while playing the University of California Irvine to a 2-2 tie.
Leading the men’s soccer squad are senior forward Omero Rozen and junior midfielder Kevin Meyer who each have three goals and two assists. Both are tied for the scoring lead in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Meyer was named Atlantic 10 Player of the week on Sept. 5, one week after he was also honored as the Player of the Week by Big Apple Soccer.com. Last year’s leading scorer, Meyer converted a penalty kick in the 59th minute at South Florida, breaking a 1-1 tie and leading the Rams to the win. He then duplicated the feat against Columbia, scoring on a penalty kick with five seconds left in regulation to give the Rams a 3-2 win.
The men’s team isn’t the only soccer team on campus enjoying a fast start, as the women are 3-2 as of Sept. 14, and are coming off a successful showing at the New York City Nike Classic where the Rams won the team title with wins over Sacred Heart (2-0) and Columbia (2-1).
At the classic, senior Haley Lentsch was selected Most Valuable Player of the tournament, after collecting two game-winning goals plus an assist in the two games. She had the game-winning goal and an assist in the win over Sacred Heart, and then netted the game-winner with under eight minutes left to lift Fordham past Columbia. She was also named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for her exploits. Lentsch leads the team in scoring with two goals and two assists for six points.
The Football Rams successfully rebounded from an opening-night loss to Monmouth with an exciting 9-7 win at Albany on Sept. 9. Senior running back James Prydatko is off to a hot start for the Rams, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the first two games. He currently leads the Patriot League in rushing yards/game.
Defensively, the Rams have clamped down on the rush, leading the Patriot League in rushing defense after not allowing either of their first two opponents to rush for more than 100 yards. The defense is being led by senior linebacker Marcus Taylor who has 22 total tackles, third best in the league.
The Fordham volleyball team is also off to a rapid start, standing at 8-3 through the first eleven matches, including going a perfect 4-0 at the Western New York Invitational at Canisius.
Senior Tasha Johnston was named to the All-Invitational Team at the Western New York Invite after recording double digit kills in each match, including a career-high 20 kills against Canisius. It was the second All-Tournament performance of the season for Johnston, who was also named to the Northern Arizona Invitational All-Tournament team.
In their most recent tournament action, the Rams won two of three games at the Seton Hall Invitational, defeating Manhattan and Wagner, with Stephanie Frost and Jolanda Gunning-Snowden both being named to the All-Tournament team.
The Fordham Water Polo team got its 2006 season underway at the 2006 Navy Labor Day Open where the Rams posted a 3-1 record to start the season.
Fordham opened play against Michigan State, falling by a 5-2 count but came back later in the evening to pick up their first win of the season, an 11-6 victory over Gannon. Highlighting the offensive attack,Taylor Landesman notched his second career five-goal game to go along with two assists, whileJonathan Almy had two goals and an assist. Luke Forand also pitched in a goal and four assists with Conroy leading the defense with three steals.
On the second day, Fordham got off to a good start with a 10-7 win over Mercyhurst, and then followed it up with a 9-7 win over Navy “B” in the nightcap.
The Fordham men’s and women’s cross country teams opened the fall at the Stony Brook Invitational where both the men’s and women’s teams finished fifth out of eight teams. The Rams then hosted the Fordham XC Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park where the women took 11th out of 18 teams while the men placed 12th of 19 teams.
The 2006-07 Fordham men’s and women’s basketball schedules have been released and can be found on the Fordham Athletics web site at www.fordhamsports.com.
By Joe DiBari