The Trinity men’s soccer team opened their season with a three-game winning streak this past week against some stiff competition.
Their opening game, a conference battle against Schreiner, ended 1-0 with senior captain Tom Carwile striking the decisive blow with a penalty kick in the beginning of the second half.
The Tigers dominated the game, having thirty shots on the goal to Schreiner’s ten as well as having seven corner kicks to Schreiner’s seven.
This game was followed by two victories over regionally and nationally ranked opposition in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Brandeis University.
Against Claremont, Carwile repeated his heroics with another penalty, this time scoring late with just 11 minutes remaining.
The teams were evenly matched in the second half with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps having 11 shots while Trinity only had nine, but they managed to pull out the win.
The Tigers then had an even harder fight facing national ranked number seven Brandeis, but this did not phase them.
“We knew that it was a big game for us and that this was the moment to step up as a team and demonstrate that we were prepared to face a well-ranked team,” said Paco Vasquez, junior captain. “The idea of going at them from the first minute was clear to all of us.”
Trinity won the game 2-0 with the two goals being scored in the first four minutes, putting the Tigers in a great position for the rest of the game.
“Scoring two goals in the first four minutes couldn’t have been a better situation because it gave us momentum for the whole game,” said Chad Margotta, senior captain and goalie.
The team had the crowd on their feet from the start as Ryan Hunter and Kellen Reid scored their goals.
Hunter, a first year for the Tigers, scored the first goal, assisted by Reid; right after, Reid made his goal from a corner kick, assisted by seniors Murray Fraser and Zac Treu.
Reaching their goals so soon, the team then changed their game plan for the rest of the match.
“The mentality of the team was to be defensively solid and try to find spaces in order to get the third goal,” Vasquez said. “A third goal would kill the game and make the work easier for us, but Brandeis gave us a good battle.”
The team walked away with a great game, increasing their chances of moving up in the national DIII ranking from their current position at number six.
With Carwile as a returning captain and two new captains, Margotta and Vasquez, the Tigers are set up to have great leadership on the team, allowing them to pick up right where they left off last year.
First year center midfielder Laurence Wyke speaks on the captains’ roles this season and how they have influenced the team thus far.
“The captains have helped us win these opening games, leading by example and organizing the team effectively,” Wyke said. “For example, Tom stepping up to score both penalties in our first games to clinch the victory.”
The team has been working hard during their preseason, striving to be the best and pushing each other to higher limits.
The captain’s role on any team requires a lot of mental toughness and leadership in order to set a good example for the team to follow.
“My role as captain is to lead the team both on and off the field,” Margotta said. “My fellow captains and I hold our team to a certain set of standards that make us competitive in the NCAA tournament.”
In the 2014 season the men’s team finished in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, knocked out by Wheaton College. The Tigers are hungry to come back and compete for another championship title.
“We are expected to continually improve as the season goes through in order to be at our highest level by the end of November when the playoffs are played,” Vasquez said. “The season runs fast, and we need to get the most of every game.”
With high expectations come hard work and dedication. The team will have to carry their success from this past season into this season and use their experience to their advantage.
The Tigers have twenty-four returners and ten freshman, making the team culture a prominent ideal to follow.
“As soon as you wear a Trinity soccer jersey for the first time, you become part of a tightly-knit family that extends well beyond the soccer field,” Margotta said.
The captains have done a great job setting an example for the team by making sure everyone is on the same page; even the newcomers have adapted well to the team’s values and bringing them to the field.
“The team is very hard-working, committed and unified,” said Christian Sakshaug, freshman center midfielder.
Matching Margotta’s response, the team has a definite understanding from the freshman to the seniors of the important factors needed for their success.
The Trinity men’s soccer team is off to a great start for the season and continue their road to the playoffs on Friday, September 11th against Hardin-Simmons at UT Dallas.