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  • Writer's pictureKAIE QUIGLEY

Men’s soccer struggles despite standouts

Colby Sawyer’s Callum Buchanan stands over Michael Palumbo and Nathan Smith in the Lasers 3-2 playoff clinching win Oct. 22. Photo by Joe Giacco

After finishing 4-5-3 in the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC) and securing a seventh seed with a victory over Colby-Sawyer College, the men’s soccer team fell short 2-1 against the second-seeded Johnson & Wales Wildcats.

The last time the Lasers faced the Wildcats in the postseason was in 2019. The game went all the way to penalties, but the Lasers took the loss against the then top-seeded team.

Under new head coach Jared Lewis, the Lasers improved from last seasons’ near winless record of 1-10-1. Due to the effort, Lewis, in his first year in the position, won GNAC Coach of The Year (COTY) this season.

“I’m happy for my coach, he has taken a good approach to his first season as a collegiate coach,” senior captain Michael Palumbo said. “I think COTY will be good for his confidence and inspire him to improve to take the program to a good place.”

Two players were also recognized by the conference. Sophomore forward Dan Faynstein, who led the offense up front for the Lasers all season, was selected All-Conference first team, while fifth-year Jonathan Martinez was honored as an All Sportsmanship team selection.

Faynstein ended his sophomore stent ranking in the top three of three differ- ent categories in the GNAC. He was first in shots with 117— the only men’s soccer player in the conference with over 100 this season. With 16 goals, he was the second leading scorer in the GNAC. The next highest goal scorer for the Lasers, junior forward Jaydon Perez, had five. Finally, Faynstein ended third overall in the GNAC for points with 36.

Despite his decorated statline, Faynstein wasn’t put on the field in the final moments of the Lasers’ playoff loss.

“The playoff game was unfortunate, we played really well and we faced a strong team on their pitch and did a lot against them,” Palumbo said. “We wanted to be there at our full strength and a lot of our guys were healthy in time.”

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