In the past two weeks, the men’s soccer team has played three preseason scrimmages as it prepares for this Friday’s season opener and a run at an Ivy League title.
The team, comprised of 29 players with a traveling squad of 20, took part in its annual Red/White scrimmage Saturday night. Previously it played another intrasquad scrimmage and a scrimmage against LeMoyne College.
The scrimmages have offered the coaches a good look at how the players are progressing and working together.
Head coach Brian Scales praised his team’s work ethic during this time.
“It’s been a good preseason,” Scales explained. “The group that we have now in this program have a good spirit, a good personality, a good chemistry and understand that they can be a very good team if they stick together and really work well as a group.”
Senior captain Liam Hoban agreed with Scales.
“We are probably a step closer to being ready to play in a real game. We have played two scrimmages in the last two weeks and [with] each one, got better,” Hoban said. “More and more guys were playing for 75 minutes. [We were] playing sharp, it was good.”
Of Saturday’s scrimmage assistant coach Rob Elliott said, “Our back four were pretty solid, the starting back four, and just the overall mentality to defend was pretty good for that game. When we had the ball, we connected well, and it was a pretty legitimate game for being an intrasquad game. It was pretty competitive and that was what we needed.”
Not only did these scrimmages offer the team some game time experience, but it also gave the coaches a chance to see how the freshman have adjusted to collegiate play.
“They have done well,” Scales said of his rookies. “It usually takes a little while for the freshman to get up to speed, but we have had a good four or five of them challenging for starting positions. We’ll see how it goes.”
As with any preseason, the squad is ready for an official game.
“They have worked extremely hard this season,” Scales said. “I know they are ready to play another team. They are ready to play Notre Dame tomorrow if they had to.”
Hoban agreed with his coach.
“[We are] about as prepared as you can be at this point,” he said. “It would have been nice to get a game in against an upstate New York team before we went there [Notre Dame] but we couldn’t, unfortunately. But practice-wise we have done everything we could do.”
Ready for Notre Dame, the team will head into its season with some specific goals.
“Our goals are always the same. We want to win the league, and try to get into the National Tournament. These two goals are constant, and we hope to hit those goals every year.”
With those goals in mind the team is as ready as it can be to start its quest for a spot in the National Tournament.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss