The men’s soccer season went by fast. The team had seven home games and four away games. Players practiced hard every day. Now the season has come to an end. The team went to the first game of Nationals in California.
This season the team had a strong starting lineup as well as very skilled players on the bench. The variety in individual player’s skills has helped the team go 10- 1-2 in regular season play. Due to this diversity, it took the team a while to connect.
Midfielder Alexander Taylor, a second year player for the Bears, agreed that team unity was a challenge. “That is what happens when a group of new guys start playing together,” Taylor said.
After winning the first game in preseason against University of Mary, they lost the following two games against Vanguard University and Biola University. Early in the season, though members played strong individually, they didn’t play as a team. The team used its preseason to work on team spirit. After unifying, the team won the last two games in preseason play and hasn’t looked back.
“The season has been a bit of a roller coaster, but in the end we did what we needed,”junior outside defender Gregor Watson said.
After the regular season the men’s soccer team was ranked first in the conference. In order to secure a spot in the national tournament a team must either rank first in conference play during the regular season or win the conference tournament. After winning the last game in regular season, it was clear that the team would head to the national tournament.
A week later the team made its way to the conference tournament in Eugene, Oregon. On November 4th the team played Oregon Tech and won 4-0. The semi finals were on Nov. 5 against University of Great Falls, one of the team’s biggest rivals. Rocky lost 4-0 and was eliminated from the conference tournament.
The first game of the national tournament was against Marymount University of California. The same team they played in the first round of the tournament last year. Last year the Bears won in overtime on penalty kicks after a 0-0 score to end regulation. After last year’s matchup, both teams came prepared to play. Before the game senior captain Eddie Cass said, “Obviously, it will be tough, they’re a very good team with a lot of talent, but we are able to match that of course. We played them last year in the same situation so we already know a bit about them and how they play.”
Even though Rocky possessed the ball for most of the time, Marymount scored a goal in the middle of the first half. It was a fast and balanced game, but as the second half came to an end, the Bears couldn’t score. The team lost 1-0 in regular time and with that, the season for the Bears is over and the hope of continuing on in the National tournament in Florida is gone.
Nevertheless, the team played an outstanding season again and made it to the first round of the National tournament. “I feel that we progressed as a team through the season at a perfect rate and we were at peak performance at the end,” Taylor said.