Author Topic: Liberty League  (Read 144750 times)

Offline 1970s NESCAC Player

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1320 on: December 02, 2018, 01:38:38 pm »
Saint, just sent you a PM.

Offline Sandy

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1321 on: December 05, 2018, 11:14:55 pm »
Agreed....So DeMello is still playing? I was hoping you would say that because the kid was a stud and he was one player I always felt bad for with that injury in 2012 in his Senior year...Really liked his game....How bout Ryan Caruth? Did he ever play....I can think of a few others...Cannot remember the kids name but the tall blond striker who was nasty...anyhow

DeMello is not paying anymore. Back stateside.

Offline CU_GKnight

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1322 on: December 10, 2018, 06:07:49 am »
I have a question for a few of the folks who’ve been around a while and seen SLU play over the past 20+ years. I have had this nagging feeling about the program over the past few seasons and wanted to get others thoughts.  This question is not meant to antagonize or be critical in any way of the program as I have tremendous respect for the coaching staff over the years and many of the players.  The past few posts about past Saints in the pros brought this back to the front of my consciousness.

I played against SLU from 1993-1997 and also spent a lot of time with their players as I had some friends that played there, even playing at their fieldhouse a number of times in the off season. I also followed them closely through 1999 when I moved to NC. By the way – good thing the final four was last weekend as Greensboro had a foot of snow this weekend and we don’t do snow removal don’t here.  I then picked up watching them again about 7 or 8 years ago when their games were streamed and I couldn’t bear to watch the product Clarkson was putting on the field – so I became a reluctant Saints fan.  So much so that my son (who was 5 or 6 at the time) had SLU losing in his make-believe penalty kick shootouts.  Thank you, Mike Smith for exorcising that demon.

Since starting to watch them after a 10+ year gap, I noticed a few things seemed to have changed from the way I remember them.  It seemed as though the Saints had lost their intense attack first mentality.  In the mid/late 1990’s, while playing the same “total football” style that they are known for, they had a ruthless aggression to take defenders on. It seems like the more recent teams are more complacent and are happy to knock the ball around until they get there one opportunity to take on a player and try to beat them.  I just think what made those teams leading up to the National Championship in 1999 so special was that they played total football but actually looked to get a team in a slight mismatch and then take the player on and have a run at goal.  I just don’t see that same “eye of the tiger” (for any Rocky enthusiasts out here) mentality from the recent teams.

Hearing Saint of Old talk about Dede as an all-time Saint rings a little hollow with me.  No disrespect to Mr. Dede (as I think he is a truly gifted player and has a great season and career) but I just don’t see him stacking up against some of the greats from the mid-1990’s-early 2000’s.  As a keeper I had the opportunity to play against the likes of Manny Brito, Andre White, Danny Annan and Ryan Carruth with players like Ali Montacer and Jamal Ballantyne being just a step below them (or maybe I only saw them in their early years before they truly blossomed as players).  With those players I was scared to death any time they received a ball with their back to the goal in my end of the field.  I just don’t get that feeling watching any of the current lot of players, including Jethro. To me, with a little bit of pressure from behind, 99% of the time the current players will look to go backwards with the ball. I just wanted to get anyone else who has seen them over the same time periods thoughts on this to see if what I was seeing had any validity.  This, to me, explains the drop off from the years where they struck fear into any other team in the country, to being just another talented team.

Also, for arguments sake, if I had to put together an all-time Saints XI team (regardless of position but with some balance) it would be Greg Sutton, Nick Hillary, Franco Bari, Harry Copeland, Ali Montacer, Jamal Ballantyne, Sam DeMello , Ryan Carruth, Manny Brito, Andre White and Danny Annan with Andrew Bednarsky and Cris Napolitano (who was one of the most underrated players I’ve ever seen) being the last ones left off.

Offline TyWebb

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1323 on: December 10, 2018, 10:34:34 am »
Also, for arguments sake, if I had to put together an all-time Saints XI team (regardless of position but with some balance) it would be Greg Sutton, Nick Hillary, Franco Bari, Harry Copeland, Ali Montacer, Jamal Ballantyne, Sam DeMello , Ryan Carruth, Manny Brito, Andre White and Danny Annan with Andrew Bednarsky and Cris Napolitano (who was one of the most underrated players I’ve ever seen) being the last ones left off.

CU_GKnight thanks for the history of SLU soccer. It prompted me to go to the SLU men's soccer page and look at the all-time records after reading your comments.  One name you mentioned that jumped out at me was Manny Brito. Manny has coached my sons at the club level on a few occasions. I had no idea he had such a storied career at SLU and had played first division football in Portugal for Academica. Manny is a true gentlemen and has always been someone I respect highly in the soccer profession. SLU can be proud of him as one of their own.

Offline Saint of Old

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1324 on: December 10, 2018, 01:00:52 pm »
Also, for arguments sake, if I had to put together an all-time Saints XI team (regardless of position but with some balance) it would be Greg Sutton, Nick Hillary, Franco Bari, Harry Copeland, Ali Montacer, Jamal Ballantyne, Sam DeMello , Ryan Carruth, Manny Brito, Andre White and Danny Annan with Andrew Bednarsky and Cris Napolitano (who was one of the most underrated players I’ve ever seen) being the last ones left off.

CU_GKnight thanks for the history of SLU soccer. It prompted me to go to the SLU men's soccer page and look at the all-time records after reading your comments.  One name you mentioned that jumped out at me was Manny Brito. Manny has coached my sons at the club level on a few occasions. I had no idea he had such a storied career at SLU and had played first division football in Portugal for Academica. Manny is a true gentlemen and has always been someone I respect highly in the soccer profession. SLU can be proud of him as one of their own.
Our great African Striker.
This guy still holds the record for most goals in one single season ever (16) since 1996 his senior year
Granted, he had another AA, Andre While feeding him but still every impressive, it will be a great Saint who ends up breaking that record. God knows many of us have tried and failed. He is an absolutely amazing player, and more importantly a kind and caring person.

Offline Saint of Old

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1325 on: December 10, 2018, 01:13:38 pm »
I have a question for a few of the folks who’ve been around a while and seen SLU play over the past 20+ years. I have had this nagging feeling about the program over the past few seasons and wanted to get others thoughts.  This question is not meant to antagonize or be critical in any way of the program as I have tremendous respect for the coaching staff over the years and many of the players.  The past few posts about past Saints in the pros brought this back to the front of my consciousness.

I played against SLU from 1993-1997 and also spent a lot of time with their players as I had some friends that played there, even playing at their fieldhouse a number of times in the off season. I also followed them closely through 1999 when I moved to NC. By the way – good thing the final four was last weekend as Greensboro had a foot of snow this weekend and we don’t do snow removal don’t here.  I then picked up watching them again about 7 or 8 years ago when their games were streamed and I couldn’t bear to watch the product Clarkson was putting on the field – so I became a reluctant Saints fan.  So much so that my son (who was 5 or 6 at the time) had SLU losing in his make-believe penalty kick shootouts.  Thank you, Mike Smith for exorcising that demon.

Since starting to watch them after a 10+ year gap, I noticed a few things seemed to have changed from the way I remember them.  It seemed as though the Saints had lost their intense attack first mentality.  In the mid/late 1990’s, while playing the same “total football” style that they are known for, they had a ruthless aggression to take defenders on. It seems like the more recent teams are more complacent and are happy to knock the ball around until they get there one opportunity to take on a player and try to beat them.  I just think what made those teams leading up to the National Championship in 1999 so special was that they played total football but actually looked to get a team in a slight mismatch and then take the player on and have a run at goal.  I just don’t see that same “eye of the tiger” (for any Rocky enthusiasts out here) mentality from the recent teams.

Hearing Saint of Old talk about Dede as an all-time Saint rings a little hollow with me.  No disrespect to Mr. Dede (as I think he is a truly gifted player and has a great season and career) but I just don’t see him stacking up against some of the greats from the mid-1990’s-early 2000’s.  As a keeper I had the opportunity to play against the likes of Manny Brito, Andre White, Danny Annan and Ryan Carruth with players like Ali Montacer and Jamal Ballantyne being just a step below them (or maybe I only saw them in their early years before they truly blossomed as players).  With those players I was scared to death any time they received a ball with their back to the goal in my end of the field.  I just don’t get that feeling watching any of the current lot of players, including Jethro. To me, with a little bit of pressure from behind, 99% of the time the current players will look to go backwards with the ball. I just wanted to get anyone else who has seen them over the same time periods thoughts on this to see if what I was seeing had any validity.  This, to me, explains the drop off from the years where they struck fear into any other team in the country, to being just another talented team.

Also, for arguments sake, if I had to put together an all-time Saints XI team (regardless of position but with some balance) it would be Greg Sutton, Nick Hillary, Franco Bari, Harry Copeland, Ali Montacer, Jamal Ballantyne, Sam DeMello , Ryan Carruth, Manny Brito, Andre White and Danny Annan with Andrew Bednarsky and Cris Napolitano (who was one of the most underrated players I’ve ever seen) being the last ones left off.
I have to give you a plus K even though you publicly disagreed with me regarding a certain #6 my friend.
Ali ended up being a three time AA, but in my opinion was one of the best players on the team and league since his freshman year.
Ryan had a great career that was shattered by injuries, much like Sam and Gorman a decade later.
I think your post speaks a truth that could only be completely understood by someone who has worn the Scarlet and Brown, or followed the program closely for quite a while.
First, you are spot on with your assesment of Chris Napalitano. Dude was a worker and a player.
It is difficult to play with reckless abandon  on offense offense, but I agree, this was the rule and not the exception in years past, while still remaining under control and possesing for a majority of the game.
There were many mantras during the Saint run that started around 94.
"Eat the Food" (Win the Championship)
"On the Jog"  (No walking permitted at practice, at any time".
"Here we go Blue"
The one that I think we might have to focus on is "Posses and Penetrate".
We are still possesing quite well, but the penetration is key to success.

I do think that we are working towards this, and with  a big class, more than likely, coming in this will be the goal to go harder forward and less negative passes.

All that being said, I have to congratulate the new coaching staff on a good season and once again winning the league and tourney double.
As seen in the Brockport loss though, the team has to play more consistently up the field, or risk giving up more goals like the one that ended our season.

As for the #6...
I feel like he would have been used a bit differently had he played a decade or 2 ago, and also, not many players, from memory have won back to back league MVPs in program history.

I did predict he would do that since his first game with the team, so I might be a bit biased in my opinion and view of the kid.

Offline CU_GKnight

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Re: Liberty League
« Reply #1326 on: December 10, 2018, 03:15:52 pm »
I didn't intend to throw shade on #6's accomplishments as they are impressive and well deserved, nor did I intend to question your assessment of him. 

Looking back on it I seem to be transitioning into the old man category where I start everything with "When I was a kid...." But was curious if anyone else had noticed that they had seemed to play more complacently without the desire to take on a player they were most likely much better than and just push it back to a supporting player.  It is also hard to get a grasp for the game on video as opposed to in person and my perspective playing the game as a keeper was much different than the sideline cam offers.  My general sense on video was that Dede didn't seem to be as dangerous a player as some of the programs past greats.  It seemed that while Dede was always capable of moments of brilliance he could be contained for large portions of games.  Some of the players I mentioned, especially Brito and White were dangerous every time they touched the ball and you never felt like you could contain them when playing against them.

As for Ali I will be the first to admit it may not be the most reliable assessment and may have been relative to the situation.  Thinking back I think he may have been the one to score the goal on me in 1997 off a corner.  It may have been relative as I would say it would be clear that after dealing with Many and Andre for 4 years and them leaving as seniors, playing against Ali Montacer a handful of games into his freshman campaign may seem like a step down.  I never really saw him beyond 1997 and the first two NCAA tourney games in 1998 (where I don't remember him standing out), but he certainly garnered the accolades and i'm sure was as good as billed.

TyWebb - I have played against a lot of great players, but I have seen very few players with the skill and tenacity of Manny Brito.  I saw him do things I have seen very few other players at any level be able to do, and some of the goals he scored were truly remarkable world class strikes.  Also, as was mentioned, the few times we did interact outside of soccer he was a consummate gentleman.  I'm glad to hear he is still involved in the game and passing on his insight to the next generation of players.