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Sports

Penn Hosts Bucknell At Start Of NCAA Men’s Soccer Tourney

(File photo provided)

(File photo provided)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team opens play in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night  as they host Bucknell at Rhodes Field.

fuller rudy Penn Hosts Bucknell At Start Of NCAA Mens Soccer TourneyThe Quakers went 12-5 this season, earning an at-large bid to the tournament, and head coach Rudy Fuller (right) thinks the team’s performance fulfilled some pretty high expectations he had for the squad.

“We really felt good coming into the season,” he said.  “I think, on paper, we felt like we had a very talented group — good balance to the group — with experience and ability.

“We had high hopes for the year, but you know as well as I do what you have on paper and what actually turns out doesn’t always match up, so we are really glad to see it work out the way we were hoping.”

You don’t get to the tournament without a fair share of special talents, and Coach Fuller says he has a few:

“If you are talking about the attack, I think you have to talk about (junior) Christian Barreiro.  He’s a special talent.  He sits in the midfield for us, he pulls strings, he scores goals, he can set up goals.  He’s a fun player to watch.  I think the two guys that have really put a stamp on it this year are (senior) Jason Gorskie, who sits in the midfield behind Christian Barreiro, and (junior) Tommy Brandt, who is one of our two centerbacks.”

Hear the entire interview with Coach Rudy Fuller in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Barreiro is second on the team in scoring with 15 points — three points behind freshman forward and leading scorer Stephen Baker.  Brandt is second on the team with five goals.

Bucknell earned its way into the tournament by winning the Patriot League.  Penn last made the tourney in 2008, losing to George Mason in the first round, 1-0.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.