Before Pat Anderson took over the Jamestown Community College men's soccer program four years ago, the Jayhawks had enjoyed just one winning season it their history.
Boy, how things have changed.
In his first season, Anderson led the crew in green and gold to a school-record 12 victories and an appearance in the NCAA Region 3 Division III playoffs. A year later, they picked up 11 victories and did even better in the playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals before being knocked out by Mohawk Valley CC. Then last season, despite filling the roster with 18 new faces and five returnees - just one of which was a starter that played the same position he had the year prior - the squad once again found a way to win and earned a playoff berth for the third straight season.
The Jamestown Community College men’s soccer team will open its season on Wednesday at Lakeland CC. In front, from left, are Kaleb Pierce, Daniel Guy, Gage Bird, Cody Hughes, Mitchell Gavin, Blake Montgomery, Blake Barker and Greg Miller. In the second row are Nolan Farr, Conner Meekins, Cody Ahlstrom, Joel Hoffner, Paul Andalora, Nate Decker, Mike Hallmark, Evan Ahlstrom and Tyler Kincaid. In back are assistant coach Reid Sturzenbecker, Nick Anderson, Brett Masten, Max Murray, Sam Valone, Tyler Dykstra, Ben Morgan and head coach Pat Anderson.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
It has gotten to a point now where the program isn't just hoping to finish the year above .500 and maybe reaching the playoffs, it's expected.
"Our aim is to win as many games as possible in Region 3 Division III (play) and get the highest seed possible for the playoffs," Anderson said. "And our expectations as a program now are that we should continue to reach (the regional playoffs)."
With a more-experienced group, including last year's top three point-getters (Conner Meekins, Blake Barker and Paul Andalora), and a pair of prolific high school scorers (Gage Bird and Nolan Farr) who are looking to do some damage at the collegiate level added into the mix, Anderson expects his team to achieve that now institutional imperative.
Meekins of Maple Grove tallied five goals and four assists for 14 points, Barker of Allegany-Limestone followed with three goals and four assists for 10 points and Andalora of Jamestown had four goals for eight points.
"We have very high hopes for some of our returnees like Meekins and Barker," Anderson said. "They should help us up front."
Former Frewsburg standout Bird, meanwhile, is the reigning Post-Journal player of the year who netted 32 goals, nine assists and was named the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 offensive player of the year. It was the second time he earned the award in as many years.
See JAYHAWKS, Page B2
"We're looking to be very strong offensively," Anderson said. "We (recently) had a scrimmage with Pitt-Bradford and we played them the best we have in my four years here. So we'll be hoping to build upon that."
With a strong front line providing plenty of offense, that should ease the pressure on the defense, which will be anchored by sophomore Mike Hallmark. It should also help the transition for the squad's two first-year goaltenders - Ben Morgan and Tyler Dykstra.
Both have had strong showings during early season scrimmages, but right now Anderson is leaning towards Morgan, who hails from Pennsylvania, due to his level of playing experience.
"Both are playing really well right now," Anderson said, "but Morgan has a bit of an edge because he has more experience."
Now matter who is playing, however, Anderson's job is to get the most out of each. It's that ability to do so that has been key to the Jayhawks successes over the last few years.
"You can't motivate each player in the same way," Anderson said, "so we try very hard to find out what makes each of these guys tick. All of them love the game, we just have to try and convince them to want to be as good as they can possibly be."
JCC opens the season with a non-regional contest at Lakeland CC on Wednesday. From there, they will take part in the East-West Showdown Tournament at Alfred State College. JCC will play Mohawk Valley on Saturday and SUNY Delhi on Sunday.
It's those early-season battles that will tell Anderson much of the year ahead.
"For us (these games) will be a nice warmup," he said. "We'll get everything in place, get our feet wet and hopefully play some quality soccer."
2012 JCC MEN' SOCCER SCHEDULE
Aug. 29 - at Lakeland CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 1 - Mohawk Valley CC at East-West Tournament, 2 p.m.
Sept. 2 - SUNY Delhi at East-West Tournament, noon
Sept 6 - at Niagara County CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 9 - Westmoreland County CC, 3 p.m.
Sept. 12 - at Alfred State College, 6 p.m.
Sept. 15 - Clinton CC at Corning CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 22 - Tompkins-Cortland CC, 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 - at Corning CC, 2 p.m.
Sept. 25 - at Lorain County CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 29 - Onondaga CCF, 3 p.m.
Sept. 20 - Broome CC, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 - at Merchurst North East, 4 p.m.
Oct. 4 - Genesee CC, 4 p.m.
Oct. 6 - Finger Lakes CC, 2 p.m.
Oct. 9 - at Cayuga CC, 4 p.m.
Oct. 13 - at Erie CC, 2 p.m.
Oct.. 17 - at Roberts Wesleyan College, 4 p.m.