The men’s soccer team will not be attending the Patriot League tournament this year after their 3-1 loss to Lehigh this past weekend. Senior captains Tanner Schilling and Chris Campbell played their last home game of their careers and were honored and Beyer-Small ’76 Field. Although the Raiders could not get the victory, junior midfielder Nick Rizzo did get his first goal of the season, with the assist coming from sophomore offensive powerhouse Ethan Kutler. The squad travels to their last game of the season at American University this coming Saturday.
Looking at the season from an overall perspective, the Raiders have had flashes of brilliance and times where they have demonstrated that they can really dominate the Patriot League. The most important thing that changed from last year is the Raiders have developed a lot in the offensive zone; Kutler is to thank for most of those opportunities, averaging 1.65 points per game and scoring 11 goals this season so far. There have also been other contributing factors to the Raiders’ successes and failures.
“I thought we played much better soccer this year and moved the ball in a way we were not able to do last year,” sophomore midfielder Charlie Vallee said. “We have a much more technical team; however, we struggled to put together a full performance for 90. Once we are able to do that we will be extremely successful in the Patriot League.”
While the Raiders did have difficulty playing with high intensity for a full game, they did a particularly good job of holding onto a lead when they had one; they ran into some trouble when they got down a goal early on the in the game and couldn’t retaliate.
In order for the team to improve for next season, “We need to be tougher defensively and play with more of an edge,” Vallee said.
The first-years have made a big impact on the team’s overall performance.
“We are definitely glad to have become more cohesive, especially with such a young team and a group of guys who will be together another season or two,” sophomore midfielder Nick Le said.
The team has become very close this year on and off the field, and I believe that will only benefit their play next season. Although the game against Lehigh did not go well, the Raider’s will undoubtedly do their best against American, who is currently ranked third in the Patriot League.
“The morale is pretty low as we weren’t able to meet our expectations or goals these season. Although we are disappointed, we are eager to get ready for the next season,” first-year defender Chase Pagani said.
This year was more of a transition year for the Raiders, and next year we are going to see consistent performances and a lot more victories.
“I think [this season] serves as a good learning opportunity to see what we did wrong this year and improve upon it next year. We are an extremely young team, so the next few years look very promising,” Vallee concluded.