The Colorado College men’s soccer team, which includes eight seniors, heads off to the SCAC tournament in San Antonio this weekend and has one purpose: to win.
Win, or go home. Win, or the season is over.
Only a year ago, the team found themselves eliminated by Southwestern in their first game of SCAC tournament play, even though they beat that same team 5-1 a few weeks earlier. This year, they suffered a stunning 1-0 defeat at Centenary College last weekend. That loss likely drops them out of the top 25 and reduces their chances of at-large bid to the NCAA DIII tournament. This means that CC needs to win the SCAC tournament to be sure of going to the NCAA championship tournament.
Centenary’s sole goal came from a countering through ball, and due to soggy conditions, senior goalie and two-time SCAC player of the week Forrest Marowitz could only watch and try to force Centenary senior Adam Ghaemmaghami to miss the frame. But his strike hit the back of the net.
To make things worse, senior captain Matthew Fechter failed to finish a penalty kick for the first time in his CC career.
“I placed the ball on the spot, took a huge breath out, and tried to calm myself down as much as possible. Running up to the ball, I second-guessed myself and went the opposite way that I normally go and the keeper made a great save,” Fechter said.
While Fechter tried to take much of the blame, the whole team was flat.
But they made one thing clear: they will not come out flat for this tournament. This team will not be crippled by the loss. Instead, the seniors exude passion and confidence. They have no interest in ending their CC careers anytime soon.
“Plain and simple, we plan on winning the SCAC tournament,” Fechter said. “We have put in too much work leading up to this season and during it to not win this tournament.”
And they have the firepower to do it.
“We have 41 goals in 19 games this year. That’s pretty impressive and speaks volumes for our offense,” Fechter said. “If we play the way we know how to, stay positive, and start the game strong, we should not have a problem scoring multiple goals on [Southwestern or Centenary].”
Southwestern and Centenary play on Friday afternoon. The Tigers will face the winner of that game in the semi-finals on Saturday. They beat Southwestern twice this year with an aggregate score of 8-0. As mentioned, Centenary put a thorn in the Tigers’ paw last weekend, but at home we beat them 2-0. Senior captain Daniel “Frenchie” Wright likes the matchup against Southwestern more, because they do not play a block defense like Centenary. The truth is, though, that both matchups for the games on Saturday are favorable for the Tigers.
“We’re going to play who we’re going to play, and we’re going to beat ‘em,” said Marowitz, senior goaltender.
And that means that all roads lead to Trinity, ranked number three in the country. Though at first the athletes were reluctant to look too far ahead, they finally admitted that they fully expect to see Trinity in the finals.
“That’s the game that we look forward to. And as much as it’s a hard opponent, it’s also a huge opportunity to be able to play a top ranked team, potentially three times in a season,” said Wright. “I think we know how to beat them. We know their star players, and if we can take them out of the game and if we’re on our A game that day, I think that we can get it done.”
When asked about the recipe to success on offense, Matthew Fechter said, “We need to apply smart pressure and finish our chances… So I plan on finishing the chances I have and working hard.”
All eight seniors have yet to beat Trinity in their four-year careers. The progression of their last two games, from a 1-0 loss to a 1-1 draw, hints that they might be ready to break the precedent. But it won’t be easy.
“We know they’re a solid team,” Marowitz said. “In the last two games they have come to respect us as a team. It will be a hell of a match…they have a nose for a goal and their constantly looking to put shots on frame. That’s what they do.”
We have just the right counter to their fierce offense, led most notably by their sophomore midfielder Aaron Olson. Nick Lammers and Kyle Buchwalder will work together to hold up the middle of the defense and limit Olson’s playmaking abilities, particularly his chances to turn in space.
The weekend matchups look tough, but our Tigers are set on bringing us home a trophy.