In the season opener of the men’s soccer season, senior and captain Daniel “Frenchy” Wright scored an overtime goal and provided the team with a 3-2 win. With 23 returning players, including 10 starters and 8 seniors, the men’s soccer team does not lack skilled veterans, depth, or seniority. It is no surprise that they are already off to a 2-1 record. Coming off a very successful 11-5-3 record in the regular season last year, the Tigers fell short of achieving their ultimate goal – an opportunity to compete for an NCAA championship. The heartbreaking and seemingly shocking 2-1 loss to Southwestern University that ended their season last year has the players and coaching staff hungry for more this season.
“It doesn’t happen very often that you have such a strong senior class,” head coach Horst Richardson said.
This year an exception has been made, and the winner of the six-team SCAC will still receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. For the last six years, the Colorado College Tigers have been part of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference along with seven other teams. In the past year, however, in an attempt to create a more centrally located conference, eastern teams from the SCAC changed conferences and left the SCAC with only six teams. Ordinarily in collegiate soccer, automatic bids are only granted to the winner of conferences with eight or more teams.
“If we wanna rumble, this is the year to do it,” said coach Richardson.
Forward captain Matthew Fechter, who was All-Region his freshman and sophomore years, is coming off a remarkable All-American season with a team high 33 points. He has been simply unstoppable. Along with Fechter, the team boasts big names such as senior captain Daniel Wright and senior standout defensemen Kyle Buchwalder, Ben Sandalow, Alex Lammers, and Keith Drury whose presence on the field will be integral to the team’s success. The shared time between senior goalies Forrest Marowitz and Brian Graf will be intriguing, as both players are too good to keep off the field.
The competition in the SCAC, however, has remained nothing short of stiff. Five teams, Austin, Southwestern, Dallas, Centenary, and – arguably the greatest challenge for CC, Trinity University – still stand between the Tigers and an SCAC championship.
“We need to simply take one game at a time, that’s my philosophy. My greatest concern for this team is that they will experience some early success, and just kind of sit on it,” said Richardson. “If that mindset prevails we won’t accomplish what we want to achieve. I’m trying my darndest not to let that happen.”
To break out this year and push into National Title contention, Richardson wants to play more aggressively in a high-pressure formation of 4-3-3.
“It’s a risky way to play, but I would rather win a game 5-3 than 1-0,” said Richardson. Despite playing with relatively chaotic tactics, the team will look to its leadership for consistent play.
The next game will be in Tacoma, Wash. at George Fox University on Sept. 8.