The Mercyhurst College men’s soccer team faced a testing run of games with very little rest this past week, as they battled to three victories in the space of just six days at the Mercyhurst soccer field.
They remain unbeaten for the season, with an impressive record of 7-0-1 and 1-0-1 in the conference.
They defeated Lake Erie College on Tuesday, Sept. 21, by a score of 5-0. They then disposed of the University of Findlay, 2-1, on Friday, Sept. 24, and finished off the weekend comfortably beating Tiffin University, 2-0.
They had a two-day break between the Lake Erie and Findlay game, and then just one day before facing Tiffin.
“It’s not ideal having the games in such a small space of time, but that’s what we work for in preseason. You have to prepare yourself off the field as well as on it,” said graduate student Oliver Gage.
Sophomore Matias Karioja echoed Gage’s thoughts.
“It’s hard. You have to think about everything: what you do between the games so you’re ready, what you eat, how you’re sleeping and drinking plenty of water,” said Karioja.
Karioja, from Finland, obviously prepared well, having a fine week. He scored two goals and assisting on three which was good enough for him to be named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference player of the week.
With such little time between games, the team could not work on anything new in practice.
“Practice was mainly used as a chance to stretch and help our legs recover. Luckily prior to the run of games we had a clear idea of how we like to play and everyone was on the same wavelength,” said Gage.
It was important for not only the starting 11 to be on the same wavelength, but the whole squad, as a number of different players were used to try to keep everyone fresh.
“Soccer is a team game, especially with the roll-on, roll-off substitute system. It’s about the strength of your whole squad, not just the starting 11,” said Gage.
There is little time for the Lakers to rest and enjoy the victories. They return to conference action this Wednesday, Sept. 27, to take on East Stroudsburg University.
The Lakers will be looking for revenge as the Warriors were the only team to defeat the Lakers last season on their home field.
“We have a big game on Wednesday against East Stroudsburg and its important we keep this good run of form going. If we play our game how we want to, we will get the result,” said Gage.