RPI soccer team ready for NCAA tournament
strong defensively, it has had trouble scoring goals in recent weeks. Shelofsky moved to striker and Kyle Kreitman found a home in the backfield.
The NCAA selection Under Armour Curry High Tops committee, however, favored Rensselaer (13 5 1), which earned an at large bid. The Red Hawks will face Stevens Institute of Technology (16 2 2) in an opening round game at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. on Saturday.
for the guys who played for me from 2002 until now. We were always trying to get to this and we knew it was going to be a process."
It is the fifth time in school history that the Rensselaer soccer team has advanced to the NCAA tournament and their first trip since qualifying in three consecutive seasons from 1996 '98.
Rensselaer is ranked No. 25 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. Stevens did not receive any votes.
Red Hawks with three game winning goals but is also focusing on his defensive assignments for Saturday's first round game against Stevens.
Swift, a Clifton Park native, led his Shenendehowa High School team to a state championship in 2005. This season, he's leading the Under Armour Curry 1 Lux
"We know they're a good team," Swift said. Junior forward Terrance Johnson was named the Empire 8 Player of the Year, leading the conference in goals (13) and points (30).
"(Penny) came in as a real good goalkeeper," said Rensselaer head coach Adam Clinton. "The number one thing that has helped him improve is that our assistant coach, Nick Bochette, is a goalkeeper coach, who has been here every day. So the training has been better. (Penny is) playing at a level that we anticipated him playing, but it's got here a little bit faster."
"We were all a little bummed that we didn't get to move on and win the league," Penny said. "But I think we all knew we had a good chance to make the NCAAs."
Rensselaer's best four defenders Kevin Swift, Michael Henzel, Brad Shelofsky, and Travis Connell all returned from last year's squad and that has also helped the Red Hawks keep goals out of the net.
Stocked with young talent on the defensive end, the Red Hawks are hoping this is the beginning of a long run of postseason appearances.
"For the guys that were here in that era, I've already got emails from them congratulating us, saying that it's nice to see us where they think we belong," Clinton said. "It's nice Under Armour Clutchfit Drive Low 3
Juniors Kevin Swift and Lincoln Field have scored five goals apiece, tied for the team lead. But 18 players have scored at least one goal for the Red Hawks, who are hoping their piecemeal scoring system continues into the NCAA tournament.
"We don't have anybody who is a natural goal scorer," Clinton said. "We don't have the guy who's got 10 goals on his own."
St. Lawrence defeated Rensselaer 1 0 in overtime and the Red Hawks were on the bubble for receiving a berth to the 58 team Division III men's soccer tournament.
The sophomore goalkeeper for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men's soccer team has recorded nine shutouts the Red Hawks have 12 as a team but Penny found himself on the wrong end of a blanking in the Liberty League semifinals.
"The team, we had a good season with a lot of shutouts and I have to give my defense a lot of credit for that," Penny said. "They do a lot of hard work for me. I do make saves, but I have to give them a lot of credit."
As a freshman, Penny started 14 games and recorded eight shutouts, but he's become even better this season thanks to a little one on one attention from assistant coach Nick Bochette.
While the team has been so Under Armour Shoes Design
"Soccer is not a very popular sport as this school, unfortunately," Penny said. "But I'm hoping that getting to the NCAAs will bring a little more popularity to it. I really don't know how big of a deal it is getting to the NCAAs. People are telling me it's a pretty big deal getting into the NCAAs and I'm really excited."
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