By SHYAN MURPHY
Soccer season has commenced, and for the University of Mary Washington’s men’s soccer team, so have the victories. At this point in the season, the team has won six out of the eight games played, one of those victories coming against conference foe, Marymount University. This was only the start of the conference games in which the team will be playing all throughout the next month.
According to one of the team’s defensive players, junior Colin Travis, “The conference looks really strong this year, but I’m sure we’ll do well as long as we keep working hard. We need to take it one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.”
The men’s team is averaging more than 18 shots taken per game, resulting in almost three goals scored per game. The team shows a strong ability to work together, which is beneficial in efforts to make it to the NCAA tournament during the months of November and December.
One of the leading values held by the team is stated by sophomore midfield/forward player, Ryan van Mannen, “We kind of try to play more direct in order to get the ball forward as much as possible. So we don’t usually try and keep the ball in our own half.”
This is a strong team ethic to have for any sport since it forces the players to work together toward keeping the ball on the opposing side of the field while also reducing the risk of the opponents scoring goals.
Currently every game has had its challenges, but a few have been particularly difficult in the eyes of the players. “I found the Roanoke game to be the most difficult so far,” Travis said, “It was really back and forth in the first half, then they honestly dominated in the second half, and then overtime is always tough.”
Such a view shows that a game does not have to be lost in order to be a difficult one. Even as UMW won against Roanoke, the opposing team still played a strong game while putting forth challenges to UMW players causing the game to result in overtime and yet another victory for Mary Washington. More challenges are expected as the season progresses and the team works their way to the NCAA tournament and faces teams such as CNU, Mount St. Mary’s, and Salisbury as the conference games continue to pick up.
Despite some teams putting up a greater challenge than others, no opponent should be more discounted than another. “We can’t take any of the teams lightly, we need to just focus on the game at hand,” Travis said. Many times, defeat is due to overconfident players and the underestimation of the opposing team. If the UMW men’s soccer players keep up the team
culture, their success is almost guaranteed even against some of the more daunting challengers that they have yet to face, but are prepared to do so in the upcoming games. In addition to team structure and ideals, support is always beneficial component to any team’s success. For those interested in supporting your fellow Eagles, upcoming home games are on Oct. 8, 11, 19, 22 (Homecoming) and 26.