Men's soccer rolling

The Mercyhurst College men’s soccer team is off to their best start of a season since 2002, after posting two more victories this past week. They have won their last seven games and have had an enormously imposing record of 9-0-1 and 2-0-1 in conference play.

This has been recognized nationally as last week they were ranked number 10 in the nation.

The Lakers justified this ranking as they won 3-1 at Urbana this past Sunday, Oct. 3, and enjoyed a rewarding 1-0 victory over East Stroudsburg University on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at Mercyhurst soccer field.

The win over East Stroudsburg was rewarding for many reasons.

The Warriors are a fellow conference foe, and were also ranked No. 24 in the nation before the teams met.

It was clear to see that this was a game that neither side wanted to lose.

Everybody wants to win every single game they play, that’s why they play sports. But, some games can have more meaning than others, especially when its a win. This was certainly one of them.

The game was extremely physical, with strong tackles flying in, and not always fairly. The two teams combined for 21 fouls and five yellow cards.

“This game was an absolute battle, and we showed that we can handle that and rise above it. We were willing to make strong tackles and mix it with them, but, we also kept playing our own game, and we won,” senior Arash Fahandezh said.

One player on the end of some strong tackles from the Warriors was graduate student Oliver Gage.

“I think because I’m one of the smaller players I am an obvious target to the opposition, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as we are winning they can kick me as much as they want,” Gage said.

Gage though, does admit to maybe bringing some of it on himself.

“I do wind the opposition players up, especially in breaks in play. Anything I can do that will distract a player from his game I am willing to. Also, once a player is booked, he has to be very careful when he is tackling, which, can only be beneficial to our team,” Gage admitted.

This win was more enjoyable than some others, said Gage, because there is more satisfaction in grinding out a 1-0 win against a good side, rather than hammering a poor side.

Fahandezh who scored the game-winning goal agreed.

“As a player you always want to get pushed to the limit and when you play teams like East Stroudsburg who is physical as well as technical, you become a better player.”