Date Posted:09/08/2004,  5:00PM

2004 Men's Soccer Preview

Head Coach: Brian Ainscough (5th season, 47-13-7)

Leading Returners: Bobby Desilets (12 goals-4 assists), Andrew Russo (9-6), Tom Bresnehan (8-3), Tucker Hodgkins (3-5), Danny Sullivan (First-Team All-American)

Key Losses: Travis Derr (1466 min., 63 saves, 0.80 GAA)

Newcomers: Brendan Egan, Nick Figueiredo, Wolf Grueber, Mike Howard, Justin Ito-Adler, Nathan Lovitz, Luke Welch

2003 RECAP: The Polar Bears took a critical step in 2003, finishing second in the NESCAC and reaching the NCAA's for the first time since 1999. The 13 wins were one shy of tying the school record. Bowdoin raked in the postseason awards as Sullivan, Desilets, Russo, and Derr all collected First-team All-NESCAC honors. Ainscough won NESCAC Coach of the Year and Sullivan became just the fourth Polar Bear to earn First-Team All-American honors. But despite the gaudy records and outstanding results, the season ended on a sour note when Wheaton College advanced in the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks over the Polar Bears.

2004 PREVIEW: Loaded. Of the 39 goals Bowdoin scored last year, 38 came from returning players, led by the dynamic one-two punch of Russo and Desilets. The Polar Bears also have the versatility to beat teams in any number of ways, as the speed of Hodgkins (5-7, 145) and size of Bresnehan (6-2, 185) gives opponents fits. Add in the invaluable experience of Roth, Sullivan, Bucky Jencks and Jacques Guana and Bowdoin is setting up for a fantastic autumn. The one question mark is who will fill the shoes of netminder Travis Derr, who graduated last year holding nearly every goalkeeping record. The preseason has seen a fierce competition among returning players Greg Levin and Lucas Bare, along with touted first-year Nathan Lovitz to fill the role.

DID YOU KNOW: Senior Bobby Desilets is eight goals shy of tying David Bulow '02 and Gima Asmerom '73 as the school's all-time leader (32). His 15 career assists also place him 7 shy of Bulow's career mark of 22.

COACH AINSCOUGH SAYS: "We've had a lot of success in the past four years, and we believe that this year's seniors- who have been responsible for much of that success- bodes well for our team. The strength of our team will be our seven seniors, but we also have a ton of depth that will help us throughout the season."