Men’s Soccer to Open 2003 Season Tomorrow

Posted: August 28, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

With nearly two weeks of two-a-day practices behind it as classes are under way, the George Mason men’s soccer team is ready and looking forward to its 2003 season opener. The Patriots will play the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the first round of the James Madison University/Comfort Inn Invitational in Harrisonburg. Host James Madison meets Stony Brook University in the second game at 7:30 p.m., then George Mason and the Dukes switch opponents for Sunday, with the Patriots facing Stony Brook at 1 p.m.

“We’ve had a terrific preseason,” says Head Coach Fran O’Leary, who enters his third year at the helm of the Patriot program. “I’ve been impressed with the leadership of the upperclassmen and the mature attitude displayed by the newcomers. If we continue to improve on a daily basis, I’m certain a successful season lies ahead.”

George Mason has made progress under O’Leary each of the last two seasons, finishing strong for an 8-9-1 mark in 2001 and posting the program’s first winning season in four years with an 8-7-4 record last fall. This season, O’Leary expects the progression to continue. Playing one of the most competitive schedules in the South Atlantic Region and, perhaps, in the country, he expects the Patriots to be in a position to challenge for the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship when all is said and done.

“We feel that we have a very sound defense, and with the addition of some quality attacking players, we will become more competitive in the CAA,” says O’Leary. “After proving we were tight defensively last year, we focused our recruiting efforts on upgrading the midfield and the attack, and we have added some players with terrific attacking ability. I am confident that will translate into exciting games with plenty of goals.”

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