The men’s soccer team posted a 3-5-1 during the month of September and looks toward conference play this month.
Tonight the team travels to Mt. St. Joseph with a game at 8 p.m. to mark the start of October.
“At the collegiate level everything is geared toward the conference because how you do in conference depends whether or not you get into the national tournament,” Head Coach Shaun Mahoney said.
This year the competition is tight amongst five of the 10 teams in the division, especially Transylvania and Rose-Hulman.
“You have to finish in the top four of the conference to get into the conference tournament,” Mahoney said. “The winner of the conference tournament goes to the national tournament. Step one is to get into the top four.”
One challenging aspect of any sport are roads games and how teams adapt to adversity.
“When we play them at their place, everything on the road is a little harder,” Mahoney said. “And we play five out of the nine conference games on the road.”
Spectators learn that the build-up of anticipation of a goal hinges on a lot of small plays that leads to a point on the scoreboard and appreciate the values of soccer.
“Goals have a rarity that points do not have,” Mahoney said. “Every goal can seem like a buzzer beater in basketball or like that two minute touchdown drive. Every goal feels that way because they are so important.”
When supporting the team, one of the traits of the game is that it’s built on plays in the moment.
“Soccer is a player’s’ game and you have to go out and play,” sophomore middle Cameron Mattern said. “By that I mean, once you step on the field, there are no designed plays from coaches.”
The team gears up for an eventful month of October and tonight’s game.
“Mount St. Joe is a very important game,” Austin Fundenberger said. “It’s our first conference game, and it will set the tone for the rest of the conference season.”
Before tonight, the team ended its last pre-conference season against Concordia Chicago that went into double overtime and ended in the first tie of the season.
“I was very happy with the effort put in by our team against Concordia,” Mattern said. “That was one of our better overall performances of the season, and I think it gave us some momentum going into conference.”
Up next for the Grizzlies are the fighting Pioneer’s of Transylvania University at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday at home.