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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Men’s soccer seizes first victory of the season

Antonio Dimarco ’18 looks to pass to Joey Brown ’15 against Coe College on Wednesday. Photo by Jun Taek Lee.

The men’s soccer team continued its positive streak earlier this week when it held Aurora University to a 1-1 draw last Saturday at home on Springer Field. In the following game on Wednesday, Grinnell claimed its first victory of the season against Coe College by blanketing the Kohawks 5-0.

“[On Saturday] we didn’t play our best [during] the first half,” said co-captain Elliot Meyer ’15. “Aurora’s a good team. We came out a little too soft, not winning enough 50-50 balls. [In the] second half, we definitely improved and finally got a goal during the last three minutes. Today, we played against a less quality opponent, but we still played really well, [getting] goals early.”

“The difference between the two games was just our start,” added Joey Brown ’15. “I think we started a little slow on Saturday and today we came out ready to win, ready to play, and that was a big difference maker.”

In the Saturday game, although Aurora held a 1-0 lead until halftime, Brown pierced through the Spartans’ impenetrable defense and managed to score on a header with a cross from Nick Brule ’17 in the 87th minute.

Antonio Dimarco ’18 looks to pass to Joey Brown ’15 against Coe College on Wednesday. Photo by Jun Taek Lee.
Antonio Dimarco ’18 looks to pass to Joey Brown ’15 against Coe College on Wednesday. Photo by Jun Taek Lee.

Against Coe, the Pioneers played with a more serious intent. Few balls made it past the Pioneers’ diligent defense, and the rare shots Coe did manage to attempt were immediately held off by the goalkeepers.

“The defense is key,” said co-captain Michael Hurley ’16. “They’re so important to the team and absolutely crucial for our success.”

All in all, the team operated like a well-oiled machine, understanding plays and communicating effectively among the ranks.  Even when there was confusion on the field, the Pioneers continued to pull together and face their opponent as a single, cohesive unit.

“Still, this was far from a perfect game. We still have a lot to do,” Brown said. “Conference is going to be on a whole ’nother level, and that’s something we need to get more prepared for. But I still think we’re getting better every game, and that’s what matters. We’re getting better.”

Though the entire team played well across the board, both Meyer and Brown commended the efforts of Brule and Antonio Dimarco ’18 for their cross executions and keeping the ball in play, two areas that have been presenting difficulties for the team.

“They definitely stepped up and did their part.” Brown added. “They can do better, but they definitely stepped up and did their roles today.”

So far into the season, the Pioneers finished three of the four games in overtime. However, players expressed little concern over the team’s tendency to head into extra time.

“It’s something that’s definitely more fatiguing at first,” Meyer admitted. “The last few games all went into overtime [and we’ve] played a lot of minutes already this season. But our guys will be in good shape for Conference.”

“It’s definitely tiring, but it’s something that’s helpful in another way,” Brown agreed. “It’s good to get that in, using the preseason to get used to these types of games and get us ready for the Conference. Going into overtime is good practice and conditioning for us.”

With such a dominating win, the Pioneers continue to view the upcoming season as promising. High hopes are held for the upcoming Conference and future games. Special emphasis seems to be on team unity. This mentality is one the Pioneers hope to focus on as they continue into their season.

This Saturday, the Pioneer’s will travel to Naperville, Ill. to compete in the Sal Vaccaro Tournament, with the hope of retaining their victory streak.

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