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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Solid soccer squad shoots for successful season

Despite a wealth of talent and experience, the men lost their season opener 0-1 to Central College Tuesday night in Pella. However, the loss didn’t dampen the team’s hopes of making it to their fourth conference tournament in a row.

“We have the talent, that’s for sure. We might be one of the most talented teams in the conference, but it’s all about getting everybody to work together and using that talent in the most efficient manner,” Captain JP Prouty said, who faults the loss Tuesday to the team’s continuing attempt “to figure out how to work well with each other and where each other is going with the ball.”

Along with fellow captains Alex Exharos ’10, midfielder, and Andrew Stephenson ’10, forward, Prouty believes that this team has the potential to make it to the conference championships this year if they are able to overcome these team issues.

“This year is unique because in previous years we might have had people who didn’t have the best skill for soccer but they would work extremely hard, whereas this year it’s like a lot of skilled players,” Prouty, a defender, said.

Assistant Coach Parker Koester ’09, who was one of the team’s two seniors last year, believes the team’s strength hasn’t diminished any from last year’s strong end to the season when they lost in the conference final to Carroll University.

“We have a solid team all around, and I don’t think we have too many weaknesses,” Koester said. “I think we’ve got guys who will step up and fulfill the few seniors who left.”

The returning goalies Greg Fox ’12 and Ben Schemper ’11 add an important dynamic to the team, with Fox recording nine saves against Central. Last year, he completed the season with 36. In addition to a strong list of returning players, both Koester and Prouty believe they have a talented first-year class.

“This talent comes from good recruiting from Coach [Jaworksi],” said Prouty. “He has done a very good job in the past few years of bringing in good talent [such as] the really talented first year class.”

One of the first-year players, Midfielder Kanatip Winichakul ’13, believes they play well together due to team unity that occurs on and off the field.

“We definitely have different things to do together as a team, so it’s been an easy transition to get to know these guys,” Winichakul said. “I think all of us don’t want to let the team down so we’re all pushing each other to do better.”

Creating chemistry is a major goal of this year’s seniors, especially since they had the same thing done for them when they were first-years.

“Team get-togethers, parties, that definitely builds camaraderie,” Prouty ’10 said of bringing together the Grinnell men’s soccer team. “I admired [the senior captains] my freshman year just because of how they were able to include everybody.”

The Pioneers have a home field advantage this year with nine home games including one against Carroll University, the team the Pioneers lost to in last year’s Midwest Conference final. Last year’s win in the semifinals against St. Norbert, who they hadn’t beaten since 2002, was a huge boost for this year’s returning players.

“My first two years we made it to the tournament, but lost in the semifinal…just last year we made it to the tournament, won the semifinal and lost in the final,” Prouty said. “And this year it would be just like going up a set of stairs if we won the championship.”

Although the team beat Norbert in the conference tournament and then wound up losing to Carroll in the final round, staying positive seems to be a fundamental aspect of the team this year that will allow them to make the best of any situation, no matter the outcome.

“This senior class I’m sure would love making it to the tournament because that would be four straight years of going [to the playoffs],” Prouty said. “A huge step in the right direction would be winning the conference championship but we’ve got to lose the individual mindset, come together as a team, and get everybody on the right track, all thinking the right way with the same goals and same motivations.”
The men’s soccer team plays their first home game against the University of Dubuque at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday.

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