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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Men's soccer expecting a strong season this fall

Men's soccer expecting a strong season this fall

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By DAVID MERCER

As the summer culminates and the fall semester begins, the University of Mary Washington men’s soccer team is preparing for another exciting season of play. Last year, the team finished with an overall record of 12 wins and seven losses. This record placed them fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference at the end of the season.

As the team trains for the fast-approaching season, head coach Jason Kilby defined the environment as “exciting.”

“The players are producing at a high work rate,” Kilby said. He noted that there is a “definite positive energy” floating around the locker room and on the practice field.

Kilby also expressed his excitement about the team’s freshman class.

“This is a really good and intelligent freshman class that needs to adjust to the college game,” Kilby said.

He noted that the new team members will provide a good contribution to the chemistry the rest of the team already has. In addition to the freshman class, Kilby said he is thrilled about his returners, pointing out goal keeper Tyler Back, defenders Elvin Arbaiza and Nick Shepherd and a host of other veteran players that would motivate their teammates and leave their marks on the field. Kilby described the team as “technical” and “a team that can handle the ball and get forward.”

“The team has to come with a lot of energy and create pressure,” Kilby said.

The team will kick off the season without injured right back Carlos Vasquez. However, Vasquez said he intends on doing anything that he can to help his teammates succeed.

One key addition to the team is sophomore Connor Nogueira, a transfer student from George Mason University. The sophomore has shown his ability to get the ball forward, pressure the defense and create scoring opportunities in the few games that the team has already played. GMU is an NCAA Division I school, but when Nogueira spoke about the transition from Division I to Division III, he said “there wasn’t a big player drop-off.”

“We have a lot of good players that come together to make a good team,” Nogueira said. “I am excited to play with a new group of guys and want to make a good contribution to the team so we can win some titles.”

Another player expected to play a big part in the team’s success is sophomore center back Elvin Arbaiza, a returner who is excited for the new season.

“I feel that I am a part of a strong and talented team with a good freshman class that can make things happen,” Arbaiza said. “There is a total team mentality to win a CAC championship.”

The whole team seems to be coming together as one at the right time. The team is ecstatic for the season and ready to win.

“The ultimate goal is to be CAC champions and earn an NCAA tournament bid,” Kilby said.

The team already started the season with a win against Eastern Mennonite University on Friday, Aug. 29 and a draw with Richard Stockton College the next day as a part of the UMW Classic.

Since the solid start, the team hit a rough patch, losing their last two games. They will look to get back on the right track on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at home against Catholic University of America.