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Loyola Soccer Team Opens Season Saturday

The Loyola Marymount men’s soccer team opens its season Saturday at 3 p.m. with a home game against Fresno Pacific.

Third-year Loyola Coach Peter Novakovic welcomes back 11 lettermen from last year’s team, including seven starters. Among the top returnees are four juniors--midfielder Jeff Van Gastel, defender Jay Bevelhimer and goalkeepers Mike Luken and Alex Poli.

“I’m excited for the season to begin,” Novakovic said. “From our preseason practices, it is clear that our caliber of play has improved over the past two seasons. We are considerably ahead of where we were at this point last year. We don’t have to work on the fundamentals like before, which allows us to spend more time on structure and technique.

“The team is playing with a lot more confidence. We have a solid corps of returning players who give us both experience and a hunger to win games. In addition, there are a few new players who will make an impact right away.”

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Sophomore Dannel Christian, a transfer from U.S. International, will add some scoring punch up front, as will sophomore Paride Casciani, a transfer from Woodbury College.

Freshman midfielder Robert Gardner, an All-CIF performer from Santa Monica High, and freshman defender Sean Murphy from San Diego are also expected to contend for starting positions.


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