The Virginia Wesleyan University Men’s Soccer team defeated the Royals of Regent University 5-0, adding a seventh win to their outstanding record. The Marlins are going strong after having produced a record that has not been seen in a while of 7-1-2, seven wins, one loss, and two tied matches for the 2021-2022 season. After coming off a challenging season last year, the Marlins have shifted gears and are a force to be reckoned with. The culture of the team was different last year due to COVID-19, which provided many challenges for the Marlins. However, the Marlins have bounced back and are ready to dominate the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and bring home the trophy.
“The culture of the team is just different. Everybody’s happier and more excited to be here, so to start off with six wins that can really do it for you,” senior Scott Signorelli, a forward for the VWU Men’s Soccer team said. The Marlins best record to date is 20-1-1, twenty wins, one loss, and one tied game back in 1991 and 1995. Today, the VWU Men’s Soccer team is looking towards that goal.
This season the Marlins have faced various opponents at different skill levels that have made winning much more challenging. At the start of the season, the Men’s Soccer team won four straight games in a row giving them great momentum to carry throughout the season. “Just to keep the energy high, keep working, and never letting up,” junior Jake Peterson, a center midfielder for the VWU Men’s Soccer team said. Nonetheless, the Marlins have shown they do not back down without a fight.
As the season got started, a highlight from the season so far is the multiple games that have gone into overtime, and the Marlins scoring the golden goal to win the games. The first game of the season went into overtime, and the Marlins, not even a full minute in, scored the golden goal to win 3-2 over the Knights of Southern Virginia University on Sept. 4 and this continued into some of the games later on that produced their 7-1-2 record.
The team has been working very hard to make up for last season, as it was a challenging one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to deal with COVID-19 restrictions, an unusual practice schedule, and weekly testing. However, they are excited to get back out there and give their 100% effort every time they take the field. As the Marlins continue their momentum to maintain their record, they are feeling good about the effort the team has put in and out on the field.
“It feels really good, I mean our team is working well together and we have a lot of energy. I think we are coming into the games with the right mindset to each game, and we just have to keep up and keep working hard,” Peterson said. Going into overtime shows how hard the Marlins have been working and how strong the team is this season.
The Virginia Wesleyan Men’s Soccer team roster is stacked this 2021-2022 season. There are thirty-eight players on the roster, with the majority being freshmen with a total of seventeen, along with six sophomores, eight juniors and seven seniors. Furthermore, this class of freshmen are a favorable bunch as typically there are four to five freshmen who are starters this year. “I know that we have a really good freshman class with a lot of players that have been coming right off the jump with just the right energy,” Peterson said.
Right now, the VWU Men’s Soccer team is sitting at ninth place in the ODAC, but not far behind the teams ahead of them. The reason for this is because they have not won a conference match this season yet and have only tied against the Wildcats of Randolph College 0-0. During preseason, the Marlins were selected eighth in the ODAC coaches’ preseason men’s soccer preseason poll based on last season’s statistics. However, the Marlins continue to flip the script as they have shown that eighth place is not where they want to be. The VWU Men’s Soccer team are turning the tables and has a goal to come out on top.
Signorelli and Peterson were both asked about any special saying that the team lives by to reach their goals. Peterson commented, “Don’t be complacent, even if you win the first game you can’t be complacent where you are. You have to strive for better, so we’re looking forward to the next game and trying to get a result out of it.” The Marlins have shown consistency and that they are non-complacent as each game they play they get better and better. Their communication and chemistry on the field have shown how much they trust each other to make the perfect play. There is no “I” in team and the Marlins have gone above and beyond to prove that they are a brotherhood. “We want to be more than a team. We’re all like one big happy family on and off the field. We all go to a DIII school and we are students first, so we help each other on the soccer field and in the classroom,” Signorelli said.
Want to catch the action, the Virginia Wesleyan Men’s Soccer team continues their season on the road as they travel to Greensboro, NC to play against ODAC conference school, the Quakers of Guilford College on Oct. 9, 2021 at 7:00 pm.
By Shirell Washington