by Gabe Higgins and Kellie Lagoy
Fall sports are in full swing, and Virginia Wesleyan’s men’s soccer team has been working hard to find their stride this season. They have visions of another championship caliber season, but so far there has been nothing impressive to show. The Marlins want to reign as champions, but they need to work harder to get there.
Last fall, the team won its tenth ODAC championship trophy. The team went on the road to Randolph College and brought home the title by winning the game 2-1 in an exciting overtime that included a penalty kick. They hope to repeat that same success this year.
The goals for this years team are pretty clear. “On the field we want to play our best and get as many wins as we can, and off the field we want to bond as a team. We want to win ODAC’s again. We won last year, so we know what the standard is. We also want to go far in the NCAA tournament as well,” said freshman Alex Bukoski. The team is well aware of what it takes to win an ODAC championship, since this years team returned the majority of last years championship players.
Men’s soccer has completed four games so far. The first two games of the year were against nationally ranked soccer programs. They came out with a double overtime tie against York College, and they walked away with a 2-0 loss against Rutgers-Camden.The men’s team earned its first win of the year 1-0 against Southern Virginia University .
Most recently the Marlins faced off against their Hampton Roads rival, Christopher Newport University. The start of the game showed a valiant effort from the strong Marlins team, but they couldn’t keep up with the lightning quick Captains to finish strong. The Captains soccer team ran circles around the Marlins every step of the way. As the time clock dwindled down the Marlins couldn’t seem to find the right passes or control the ball. The game ended in a 2-0 loss for the Marlins with CNU scoring two late goals.
“They have been challenging games,” said senior captain Phil Smith, “Three of the first four have been against nationally ranked opponents, and they made me realize we can compete with the best teams in the nation. We have a lot to look forward to, and a lot to improve on.”
The Marlins currently post a 1-2-1 record, with 14 games left to be played. Their expectations are high this year, and there is a lot of hope as well. Keeping games close against ranked opponents has gotten the team excited for what is to come. This year’s men’s soccer team believes they can repeat their success and go further.