The men’s soccer team snapped a four- game losing-streak last Sunday, with a 1-0 win over Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Their lone goal came from freshman forward Nick Ebersole and was the Owls first goal of the season.
The team’s slow start is due to the overwhelming number of new, young players over veterans.
This year, 11 freshmen comprise almost half the roster; and seven started in Sunday’s game.
While it is clear that the team lacks experience, assistant coach David Simpson said “with every game played, the guys are growing closer.
A few more wins will raise their confidence in themselves and each other.”
Simpson firmly believes that experience, for any team, is vital.
“Most of these guys are coming from high school to play Division I soccer,” he said. That’s a big jump.”
Head coach David MacWilliams agrees.
“The physical aspect of the game has become more intense.
Many of the team’s we play have seniors that are 20 to 30 pounds heavier than our guys.
The guys are gaining a world of experience, though, which is crucial to a successful season.”
The team will have to work hard though, as they only have a few more weeks until its Atlantic 10 Conference schedule starts.
Beginning on Sept. 28, the Owls will be facing all 11 A-10 opponents consecutively, starting with St. Joseph’s.
After a dismal showing last year (3-8), Simpson sees signs of hope within the young squad.
“We anticipate a decent showing this year,” he said. “Our team expectations are high and hopefully this series will provide new experience for some of the younger guys.”
Although young, sophomore forward Steven Wacker has become a team leader, adding his skills to the inexperienced team.
A graduate from Northeast Catholic High School, Wacker is a Kinesiology major who wants to become involved in personal training and fitness.
Wacker stands only 5 feet 5 inches, and is the smallest player on the team.
But he does not let this handicap him.
“I just go out there and play,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if the guy you’re up against is a foot taller than you. A long as you just go and play.”
In high school, Wacker was MVP of the Catholic League and played on the All-State team.
After his first year at Temple, he was the Co-Rookie of the Year for the Philadelphia Soccer Seven.
“Wacker’s definitely a leader on the field,” MacWilliams said.
“The younger guys look to him for some inspiration, and he knows this.”
“I don’t think of the team as individuals, ” Wacker said.
“I just work together with everybody and we get the job done.”
Wacker sees the upcoming A-10 season as a great opportunity.
“The A-10 is real important for us because so far we haven’t done as well as we’d hoped,” he said.
“We’re all gonna be going into it with high expectations, and as long as we just go out and play, we should do alright.”
A hyper-extended knee put Wacker on the bench for part of Saturday’s game and all of Sunday’s game, but doctors say he should be fine for the rest of the season.
Steve Papurt can be reached at Baby.email@example.com.