The Owls will look to use their squad depth to not only improve themselves, but to win games.
With a plethora of new players coming in, coach David MacWilliams still hasn’t come up with a starting 11, even after the team’s first game Friday when it beat Saint Peter’s in overtime 1-0.
“Not yet,” MacWilliams said when asked if he has a starting 11 in mind. “We’re still trying to figure out what’s best for the team because we still have injuries. We’re not sure what our starting lineup’s going to be.”
MacWilliams isn’t too worried about not having a starting 11 because he’ll be utilizing his team’s depth to its full advantage.
“The nice thing [about having depth] is that we can start other players and we won’t miss a beat,” MacWilliams said.
One issue the Owls might face during the season is chemistry. This problem was perhaps expected since half of this year’s roster consists of new players. Last Friday, sometimes the final pass was too heavy or the synergy between the midfielder and the striker was not cohesive. But with time and preparation, MacWilliams feels that chemistry won’t be an issue later in the season.
“[Chemistry] is just going to get better and better,” MacWilliams said. “We have new players coming in, and it’s going to take some time for those guys to settle in and fit their style to the system and function at 100 percent.”
Still, having a deep squad can instill a huge amount of competition within the team. MacWilliams said that can only be a positive.
“I think competition’s going to help us,” MacWilliams said. “We had a good attitude from the team yesterday from the bench. They cheered on the team and I was pleased with the bench yesterday, which is a good sign.”
“I think competition is always a good thing,” senior captain Ryan Bradbury said. “It pushes you to train harder and really makes you better. I think every athlete has to look forward to competition. What stood out the most to me was how well the team came together. Everyone showed up ready to play and left it all on the field.”
Although they have yet to play in the American Athletic Conference, the move is already benefiting the team.
“I think the conference has helped us recruit players,” MacWilliams said. “Because the top teams play in the top conference and they want to be playing in it. We have 11 new players on the team and I think playing in it had an impact.”
Bradbury believes that playing in The American will help the team perform at a higher level.
“The new conference will definitely be a good thing for the team,” Bradbury said. “We’re here because we want to win and want to be the best, and to be the best you need to beat the best teams. The new conference allows us to play some of the best teams in the country every week.”
The Owls will look to replicate their success from their first game going into their next match against Wofford College on Sept. 6 at 4 p.m.
Hoon Jin can be reached at email@example.com.