The College of Staten Island men’s soccer team will be kicking off their 2018 campaign this afternoon, taking on the Golden Eagles of St. Joseph’s College in Long Island.  The Dolphins have plenty of reasons to be excited.  They were selected to finish first in the CUNYAC, and will look to live up to the billing with a strong start against they have never defeated.

Matchup:  CSI (0-0)  vs. St. Joseph’s – LI (0-0)
Where: Danzi Stadium – 155 West Roe Boulevard, Patchogue, NY
All-Time Series: SJC-LI leads, 6-0
Last Meeting: October 10, 2011 – SJC won 5-2
Players to Watch (CSI): The Dolphins are bringing back three of their top four goal scorers from a season ago, including sophomore pair Joe Bolella and Bryant Navarro, who each tallied six goals, a majority of the time in reserve situations.  The duo will be expected to keep the pressure going along with newcomer Carlos Montesinos.  Philip Lefkowitz is also back for the Dolphins and is looking to build on an impressive career.  Lefkowitz missed his entire sophomore season due to injury and came back last year by scoring four goals and two assists.  Back from injury is goalkeeper Jake Foeldes, the 2016 CUNYAC Rookie of the Year.  he’s expected to split time with non-athletic transfer Christian Carucci.  CUNYAC 1st-team All-Star Wilson Quintero will man the back line for the Dolphins, along with junior stopper Erick Conde.
Players to Watch (SJC): Look no further than Rayneri Ruiz to get the excitement started for the Eagles.  He led all scorers with 13 goals last season and is back for his junior season.  Damien Duda and Justin Busto are also back for the Eagles, adding nine goals and eight assists between them.  Defenders Marc Ceruti and Jayvid Parra started every game for the Eagles a year ago and will be expecting to patrol the back gate again in 2018.  One position to watch will be keeper.  Sophomores Tyler Flaherty and Kyle Makely and freshman Aydin Olgun will all be making their first appearances in an SJC uniform this season.
News & Notes: The two sides are renewing their rivalry after a seven year hiatus.  SJC has owned the series, taking all six meetings by a combined 33-8 margin between the years of 1998-2011.  SJC is 2-0 all-time at home against the Dolphins, winning in 2011, 5-2, and in 2006 by a 7-0 count.  SJC finished 8-8-1 in the Skyline Conference last season and are predicted to finish second in the conference this season, returning a host of talent in 2018.  The Dolphins also lost minimal talent from last year and are predicted to finish first overall in the CUNYAC.  Openers have not been kind to CSI.  They are just 3-13-2 in their last 18 season openers.  The Eagles, meanwhile, have lost their last five season-openers.  The last time they were victorious on opening day was in 2012, a 2-1 win over CUNYAC’s Lehman College.