Both the men and women’s soccer teams have high hopes for this season.
Despite the slow start for both teams, with records of 0-2-1 and 1-2 as of Sept. 3, they are still pleased with how they have played and connected as a team this year.
“Unfortunately, the score doesn’t show what we did on the field,” Daniel Marulanda, center midfielder for the men’s team, said. “We learned a lot from the games we lost on our trip and from the tie game that we had last week. We believe that if we keep working as hard as we are right now, the results will come, and we’ll do better.”
Samantha Weber, defensive center, expressed a similar sentiment for the women’s team.
“All kinds of people are scoring; everybody is fighting and grinding for each other rather for themselves…Overall, I think we’ve been playing well,” Weber said.
According to Weber and Collin Smith, center midfield for the men’s team, both soccer teams have faced top-10 teams within their first three games. Still, they are proud of how they have played against their opponents.
“We lost to some really good teams,” Smith said. “Mobile was top 10 in the nation. We competed; we did well.”
Weber again had similar feelings as she said, “We walked away from (those games) feeling very victorious…Wins and losses isn’t really what define us, but more like (how we feel) at the end of the game if we have true victory.”
Both the men and women’s soccer teams have faced and overcome challenges with new personnel. According to men’s coach, Scott Marksberry, 14 of the 27 players on the men’s team are new this year, while 10 of the 20 players for the women’s team are new, according to midfield, Sara Frey.
“The speed of play is quicker… You can’t really get [the new guys] to understand it until they start playing games,” Smith said.
Frey expressed that the transition for the new players has gone extremely well.
“It seems like the freshmen have all really come on board well, which has really helped the team dynamic,” she said. “We’re really unified, which is really encouraging at this point.”
That unification will hopefully be on full display tonight, when the women’s team takes on Grace College.
“They’re one of the higher-ranked teams up in Indiana, so it’s a good game for us before conference play gets started, just to see what it takes to be the best in all conferences and in the nation,” Weber said.
Following the women’s game, the men’s team will seek to win against University of Saint Francis. Smith said the team hope to shut down one player in particular, who dominated them when the teams met last year.
“If we can just…not let him get in dangerous spots, they’ll just kick balls over the top…I think we have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but we just have to be ready,” he said.
Even with the challenge, Marulanda expects it to be a good match.
“We’re expecting them to have really good players as well, but we’ve been working hard,” he said. “Hopefully it’s a good game, and at the end, we can enjoy a victory.”