By LAUREN TAYLOR
With an overall record of 14-4 this season, the University of Mary Washington men’s soccer team certainly had an impressive season in which they were able to display all of the hard work and effort that they have put into practicing and honing their skills.
This impressive amount of wins took the team to the Capital Athletic Conference CAC tournament championship game, where they played their hardest but lost to Christopher Newport University by a score of 1-0. Now that the season has ended, the men have a chance to reflect upon what they have accomplished and focus their energy into preparing for next year’s season.
Sophomore Will Donohoe said that his favorite memory from the season is “beating York in the CAC semi-final.” The team won the tournament semi-finals 2-1 against York College with goals from sophomores Ryan Van Maanen and Jack Saslowsky. The final goal was by Saslowsky, off of a corner kick by senior Mitchell Williams, and Saslowsky said, “My favorite memory from the season was scoring in overtime against York to put us in the Conference final.”
Sophomore Conor MacMurdy stated, “Going into finals, I was a bit nervous because we were playing a night game at CNU where we previously lost to them earlier in the year. After the game, I felt a little heartbroken, but I was extremely proud of the team and knew we left everything on the field.” This sentiment was echoed by other players on the team, like Donohoe, who said he felt “very excited, but then disappointed after” having played in their final game of the season.
This season was one of excitement and firsts on both a personal level and as a whole team. MacMurdy said, “My favorite memory from the season was scoring my first career goal against Southern Virginia.” On the whole team history level, this season was the first time in five years that the men have made it to play in the CAC finals.
Although the men had such a powerful season, they do not plan on stopping there; rather, they are going to take what they have learned and the skills they have and hope to press on even further next season. Donohoe said that the goal for next season will be “to win the CAC and make the NCAA tournament.”
In regards to prep this season and next, Saslowsky said, “The main areas of focus throughout the season were on making sure the entire team understood the tactics and system we were basing our play around. In preparation for next year, we all plan on ensuring that we keep our fitness up so training sessions can be focused on tactics and ball work, as opposed to sprinting, along with getting plenty of touches on the ball so we can come into preseason sharp and ready for what the season has in store.”
MacMurdy agreed and added, “My areas of focus during the season were to stay in the best shape possible and to be able to keep the whole team positive throughout the year no matter what. For next season, as a team we will be lifting three times a week and play pick up as much as we can do. As an individual, I will run on my own and occasionally lift outside of our team lift.”
The talent on the men’s soccer team is not the only common, uniting factor. When talking about the team’s bond, MacMurdy summed it up best by saying, “This team is a family; we love one another and would do anything for each other.”