By MIKEY BARNES
When one walks down to the campus recreational field located behind the Alvey parking deck Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 3:30 and 5, you may stop to question why there are 50 plus guys running around the field.
You may even sit there and question why there is so much yelling and what they are yelling about. This group of men and all their shouting make up the University of Mary Washington men’s club soccer team.
The men’s club soccer team is 4-5-1 on the year this far, as they have faced some serious competition from other universities in the state.
A 3-0 win against nearby Germanna Community College is how the men began their fall season. The guys improved to 2-0 after a 6-3 defeat of Hampton University.
Junior Eric Jennings had a notable performance in the victory with two goals and three assists, which were all to junior Carlos Mendoza, who boasted a hat-trick in the victory. Jennings, once a member of the varsity soccer spring team expressed his feelings towards the club team atmosphere. “It is a more laid back environment, where we can play just to play because we love the game.”
This is exactly the reason for club sports, the members of each team are not collegiate athletes, but play the game because of their love for the sport. Jennings also mentioned how playing a club sport is a less of a “time commitment” offering more opportunities for the athletes to focus on studies and the other ventures that may have.
Following the debacle of Hampton, the men’s team began to slip, as a number of losses came their way. They tied 2-2 against Hampden-Sydney College, then lost five of their next six. These defeats came from the hands of rival Christopher Newport University, Old Dominion University, Richmond University and a tournament loss at home to The University of Virginia and William & Mary.
The defeat to Richmond was especially devastating for the team as they had led 3-1 at one point, only to fall 4-3. The sole victory in the losing skid came against Roanoke College. This past weekend, the guys turned things around with a 3-1 victory over Germanna at home.
This past year, the guys traveled to Memphis Tennessee to compete for Nationals, in which they finished 1-1-1. While at nationals, the victory came against the SUNY Cortland club team. The loss came at the hands of UCLA, the large Division I program, with a tie coming against Division I Washington-St. Louis.
This year, due to funding, an appearance at nationals is up in the area for the guys, which will be located in Phoenix, Arizona. Jennings expressed his disappointment in the possibility of the team not appearing at nationals, but also showed optimism. “Our goals are to get better as a group, so that hopefully skillfully and financially we are able to qualify for next year.”
Jennings, Mendoza and the rest of the men’s club soccer team will be back in action on Sunday, Nov. 15 at home against ODU and Germana in a tournament. The University of Mary Washington team will be playing at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.