By Wesley Hetcher
With only two games left in the men’s soccer season, there isn’t time to turn the season around. With a record of 3-12-1, and six of those losses by a single goal, the Vikings have been on the sad end of many games. It’s never easy to deal with a losing season, and it can be a difficult to change the culture of a team.
Despite not having seen much success, the team continues to be very close. “There’s a lot of talent, but we haven’t been able to put things together,” senior midfielder Santiago Alvarez said. “We don’t have the mental maturity to keep playing the game, even when losing. It’s impossible not to [be disappointed]; you never want this. I’d still go through this season again with these guys though.”
The team has grown as close together as it ever has been, and remains confident that next year will yield positive results. “I enjoy all the friendships I’ve built on the team,” freshman Taylor Reifert said. He reiterated, “[Having these friends] makes the transition easier. It’s definitely been a good experience.”
The defense for the Vikings has been very solid this season, recording three shutouts and, with the exception of only three games, have allowed fewer than one goal per game. “We struggle to score, but have a really solid back line that has proven itself against good teams,” Reifert said.
“Our record doesn’t reflect the quality of the game that the team has. I wish, in our last games, that we can prove our losses have been on mental lapses and shouldn’t have happened,” Alvarez added.
Despite the hard season, the Vikings were able to play home games on the new turf field at the Banta Bowl. The Banta Bowl has a lighted field and more bleacher space for greater spectator capacity at games. “The Bowl has been spectacular. It’s such a great experience to play on our own field and under the lights,” Alvarez said.
As the season closes, there is no denying that the season was not ideal. But there is no sense of quitting in the team. They are willing to work hard and make strides during the offseason. Despite any position movements, they know what needs to be addressed. Above all, it’s undeniable that there is a hunger for success, especially with the new field. Putting it simply, Reifert exclaimed, “I want to celebrate on our field.”
The Vikings conclude their season by travelling to Lake Forest on Oct. 25, and hosting Monmouth on Oct. 31.