Home winning streak comes to an end for men's soccer

Mercyhurst College men’s soccer coach Dale White constantly reminds his team that talent alone is not enough. The team is fortunate to have a lot of great athletes and talent this year, which is made clear by their 8-3 overall record so far this season.

However, in all of their victories, the guys never get caught up in the glory.

Senior Nick Thompson said their coach reminds them “if they settle for what they have, they can potentially lose a lot more.”

Thompson adds there is a difference in the team’s mentality. “We are constantly trying to improve our game,” he said. The men refuse to coast because they’re winning games; they attempt to step up the level of play even higher.

Thompson says that another factor in the team’s impressive 13-game home winning streak was the addition of key contributors.

“The new personnel that we have on the team have been a huge improvement. Christos Hampel in defense has helped us better organize. The defense as a whole has improved drastically and is one the the main reasons for our success so far,” Thompson said.

Key returners, however, are the driving force to the Lakers’ success. “{Returning starters) have come back in better shape and with more elements to their game, far more experienced,” _______________ said.

The improvements sure do show. The team shut out Erie rival Gannon University Knights this past Wednesday in a 2-0 victory.

The Lakers controlled play for the majority of the first half, knocking in both goals of the game. Junior Dean Atkins and freshman Austin Solomon scored the goals in the game.

Tough pressure from the Lakers frustrated the Knights’ offense, allowing for the shutout.

The Lakers outshot the Knights, 17-10. This season the team has posted five shutouts.

Unfortunately, the same did not hold true on Saturday, as the Lakers fell to East Stroudsburg University, 2-1.

The team worked extremely hard the first half but still entered the break down by one. They were forced to make defensive adjustments in the second half after an injury which allowed East Stroudsburg to score for a second time. Down 2-0, graduate student Paul Neill was able to slice the deficit to one goal at 2-1.
Still, the Lakers were unable to score again.

Saturday’s loss broke the Lakers’ record-tying 13-game home winning streak, which began in 2004. The game was a devastating loss for the men’s soccer team. With just less than half of their regular season completed, the team aims to continue to make progress and see where their play takes them.