just keeps scoring
A two-time NEWMAC Player of the Year and Division 3 All-American at Babson College, Eric Anderson was ready for a new challenge.
He had scored a career-high 15 goals last fall, but with a shot at advancing to the NCAA Division 3 tournament for a fourth straight year, the Rivers School graduate from Scituate wanted to return in peak form.
This summer, he suited up for the Portland Phoenix of the United States Soccer-sponsored Professional Development League, composed of college players from all levels and current and former professionals.
And he did well — tying for the team lead with five goals in 11 games.
“It was humbling at times playing at a higher level,’’ said Anderson, whose father, Jon, has been head coach at Babson since 1986.
“I really got a lot out of it learning from my teammates, playing at a faster pace and becoming a little quicker reading the game.’’
His experience paid off: Anderson is leading the Beavers (11-3-1, 4-0 conference) with 14 goals and 36 points. With his two-goal, one-assist outing Oct. 13 in a 5-3 win over Wheaton, the senior captain became the program’s all-time points leader (143), surpassing 2008 grad Tim Winn.
“The best part was my teammates’ reaction,” said Anderson. “It was very gratifying and a relief because Wheaton is always a tough opponent. I tried to block out the thoughts of the record that week because the stats aren’t as important as winning or what you can do for your team.
He entered Saturday’s game at Springfield College with 55 goals (one shy of Winn’s mark) and 33 assists in 81 career games.
Jon Anderson, a center midfielder on Babson’s 1975 national championship team, said as a parent he is most proud of Eric’s work ethic and how he stays focused in the moment, not getting too far ahead of himself.
“As a coach, I look at what he’s accomplished and it’s amazing because he had a very tough act to follow in Tim. It was very difficult for both Tim and Eric to immediately establish themselves as impact players, especially as goal scorers, because you quickly become a marked man,’’ said the elder Anderson, whose Babson resume includes 23 winning seasons and 17 post-season appearances.
“Eric gets double-teamed, knocked down, anything to keep him from scoring, but he gets the goals anyway — and his share of assists.’’
Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 170 pound forward/midfielder who attended Scituate High, repeated his junior year at Rivers and thrived under the coaching of Bob Pipe while maturing physically and as a player.
“I was very small and very slow in high school, not the best combination for a soccer player,’’ he recalled. “Coach Pipe put me in the right situations to succeed.’’
And then it was time to choose a college.
“I’d always tried to jump into the car with my dad the first day of pre-season camp at Babson since I was 8 years old and I dreamed of someday wearing the green and white,’’ said Anderson. “But Dad made sure I visited other schools and talked to other coaches and he’d give me his input about programs he respected.’’
Anderson went with his gut instinct, chose Babson, and now he appreciates even more what others have accomplished before him.
“I loved watching Tim Winn,” he said. “Pound for pound, he’s the best goal scorer at Babson I’ve ever seen. Guys I’ve passed in the record book are guys I’ve always looked up to. To be mentioned with them is special.’’
“To be successful you also need great talent around you, so I play to my strengths and the team’s strengths. If I’m heavily marked, I try to draw the defense and open up space for my teammates. I appreciate the respect they have for me and I feel the same way about them.’’
Jon Anderson’s best advice to his son?
“Focus on the things you can improve upon, not on the officials, not on if your opponent is getting under your skin,’’ said Eric. “Step forward and realize that what defines you as a player is how you respond to adversity.”
“I feed off that and off my dad’s passion for the program, which he’s instilled in me.’’
Edward steps up
for Franklin Pierce
Senior Casey Edward (inset) has been an invaluable player on the Franklin Pierce University women’s soccer team. A starting goalkeeper with a 5-2-1 record and one shutout, the former captain at Marshfield High also plays significant minutes at midfield in the wake of injuries to several field players.
In a 2-1 loss Oct. 10 at Saint Anselm, Edward started in goal and stopped all four shots, then went up front in the second half and put a shot on goal.
“I’ve been really impressed with how she has handled all the changes and served as a leader,’’ said head coach Jeff Bailey, whose team was 8-5-1 (7-5-1 Northeast-10 Conference) prior to Saturday’s conference game against visiting Pace.
Sebet again selected for NAC first-team
Salem State University senior Matt Sebet of Westwood, who tied for third at last weekend’s North Atlantic Conference Championship at Waterville (Maine) Country Club, was selected to the NAC first-team for the second consecutive year.
Sebert shot 153 (77-76) to help the Vikings finish in second place. Sebet played varsity golf and ice hockey at Westwood High, where he was a four-time Tri-Valley League All-Star and league MVP for golf his senior year when he helped lead the Wolverines to an 18-0 record.
Sebet, a two-year captain, and junior Tom Grant, a standout at Mansfield High, are the No. 1 and 2 players for head coach Stephen Campbell, whose team will defend its New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Division 3 title Sunday and Monday at the Captains Golf Club in Brewster.
“Both Matt and Tom have a never-say-die attitude, they don’t let a bad shot bring them down,” said Campbell. “They trust their ability and are strong from tee to green.”