Men’s soccer team one win away from postseason play

 

Scoring goals, defending nets and playing as a unit is what gave the Pioneer men’s soccer team a winning start to their season this fall.

Sophomore midfielder Felipe Delgado battles for the loose ball in a 4-2 loss against Taylor (IN) University Sept. 20. The Pioneers are having one of their best seasons in recent memory as they are on the cusp of having the first winning season in 10 years. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

There is no doubt that the Pioneer men’s soccer team has been working hard this season as they currently stand at 8-7 on the year.

But the Pioneers still have their eyes on the prize, which is being able to qualify for a post-season playoff. To do so, they need to achieve at least one more win.

“The number one goal is to try and get into some kind of postseason play, and to take it there we need nine wins,” senior defender John David Eades said. “I think we have a pretty good shot at doing that.”

Eades has been a part of the men’s Pioneer soccer program since he was a freshman and has been making a huge impact on the team’s success this year.

“John David Eades has stepped up to bat,” Head Coach Chris Carmichael said. “He’s really played in multiple positions, mainly in the tacking side of things. We had a huge need for a strong center back and so we started giving him that role last year and he really stepped up and played very, very well.”

According to Carmichael, the team’s share of success has been based on the outstanding performance of the defensive side. He is especially thrilled with how the season has played out so far.

“We are probably having one of our best seasons we have had in a long time,” Carmichael said. “Mainly I think it is because we have had a lot of team issues shaken out and have had a lot of team members’ step up to more of a leadership role. So right now we are doing well. We are hanging in most games and the guys are driven.”

According to Carmichael, the team’s success this season has not only come from playing on the field, but also has its share on their performances off the field.

[pullquote]“The number one goal is to try and get into some kind of postseason play, and to take it there we need nine wins,” senior defender John David Eades said. “I think we have a pretty good shot at doing that.”[/pullquote]

Lessons learned and focus is what has brought the team together.

“Practices are sometimes a roller-coaster,” Carmichael said. “But I’d say they are starting to see the value of focus during training. Collectively, they are working much harder, they are pushing each other, and that has transitioned over to the game. There is a lot more encouragement on the field and off the field between players and they are working more as a unit this season.

Both Carmichael and Eades hope to end the season right and leave no open chances behind as they make their way toward the end.

“The guys are driven and there is not much that fazes them,” Carmichael said. “The attitude is very strong, the team’s spirits’ are very strong and I think their attitude has been good on knowing what it’s going to take to get there and fight for those games we need. We hope to notch one more win and we will be there.”

The Pioneers' bench watches junior midfielder Sam Erchick dribble the ball past a Taylor defender. As the season winds down, the team is solely focused on making it to the playoffs so they can make a postseason splash. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

“I just want to leave here knowing that I helped the program get better,” Eades said. “I really want to end my time here going into the playoffs because we haven’t been there yet since I have been here, so I just want to leave the program off better than it was when I got here.”

The Pioneers will continue their season in hopes of achieving these goals and pray that their pre-season goals will help them achieve their purpose in the end.

“Right from the beginning of the season we got together and decided our goals were to get through the playoffs, “Eades said. “We have been playing with a purpose all year.”

The men’s soccer team will next play a home game against rival Walsh on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.

Tina Oprean is a staff writer for Aviso AVW.

 

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