By Gabriel Armistead Chapman
This week, I sat down with junior Max Loebl, a midfielder on the men’s soccer team. Loebl scored the critical game-deciding goal in a 1-0 win over Beloit College on Oct. 10 in an important conference matchup.
Gabe Chapman: Tell me about the goal you scored in the game against Beloit. How did it happen?
Max Loebl: It was a really easy goal to be honest. There was a great cross from my teammate Sean Salansky, and the ball was just free in the box and I tapped it in.
GC: What did you guys take away from that game?
ML: It was a really great and much needed win for the whole team. We felt a lot of momentum coming out of it, and we left the game knowing that we could beat almost anyone in the Midwest Conference.
GC: You guys have endured a lot of close 1-0 games this year. How do you look at those games and tough losses afterward? Do you try to put them out of your head or do they serve more as motivators?
ML: Definitely as a motivator. We really look to internalize the feeling of losing such close games and bring that with us each time we play. I hate losing – – we all hate losing close games.
GC: What kind of leadership role do you have on the team?
ML: Everyone has to lead by example once you’re an upperclassman. I’m not a captain, but I love helping out the freshmen. I remember what it was like when I was that age, and its great to offer them help and support when they need it.
GC: What are you hoping to get out of the last few games of the season?
ML: I really hope we absolutely destroy Ripon on Wednesday – – that would be great.
GC: Is there anything you think you’ve improved on this season, or would like to achieve in these last few games?
ML: I really just love being a part of the team. It’s a fantastic group of guys. When you talk about motivation, we always play for each other. It’s like having a second family away from home.
GC: Do you think having a tough season this year and so many tough games has strengthened or strained the team chemistry?
ML: If anything I feel closer than ever to my teammates. To go through all these tough losses, I think we’ve bonded even more than in the past years.
GC: What do you think of the Midwest Conference this year?
ML: I think the conference is definitely improving. All these great teams like Carroll University, Illinois College, Lake Forest and Knox we’ve seen really improve over these past few years. The competition level has definitely risen.
GC: What do you think the team needs to do looking toward the future?
ML: Hopefully we’ll recruit some really fantastic freshmen. I’m hoping to see really intense and rigorous practices, and hopefully everyone takes care of themselves in the off-season.