The men’s soccer team at Keene State College is shooting for the top of the Little East Conference.
The Owls, who currently hold a record of 8-5-1, which includes a 2-2-1 record against LEC opponents, have won six out of their last eight games and just ended a five-game winning streak after finishing their match with UMass Boston in a tie on Saturday afternoon.
The team, however, got off to a rocky start, racking up three losses in the first four games of the season, and all but one of the team’s losses have been by a single goal.
Close games like these, according to Head Coach Rick Scott, are starting to end with KSC on the winning end.
“Now we are winning those one-goal games, which shows me some maturity and our mental toughness is getting stronger,” Scott said of his team’s current success.
The KSC men’s soccer team, according to Scott, has a real shot at winning the rest of their games.
In order to do so, the first-year head coach said that teamwork will be key.
“I think we need to play well as a team, we need to work hard as a team, and we need to show up to play as a team. If we show up and we are mentally ready to play, we are a very good team,” Scott said.
Furthermore, players on the team, such as Senior Captain Brett Sullivan, saw the Owls’ current success as a product of the formation as whole playing together.
“[We’re] just connecting all the pieces that we have together so far. We weren’t scoring too many goals to start off the season, so we’ve really built a lot of team chemistry and everyone is finally on the same page, so hopefully we can keep rolling and put the ball in the back of the net,” Sullivan said.
The mental aspect of the game, according to Sullivan is the difference between a win and a loss throughout the course of the game.
“Come in mentally prepared, show up [to] every game in shape, you know, but it’s just the mental piece that has to be there, we have to want to be there putting in the work,” Sullivan said.
Along with mental toughness, team chemistry is also something that has been clicking for the team according to fellow Senior Captain Yazid Eideh.
“Team chemistry wise, everything is going well … Mentally we set a goal for ourselves each week,” Eideh said.
The goal each week, according to the players, is just to win games. On the streak they are on, Eideh said that he and his team could continue their win streak if they execute their skills well.
“I think that overall, we’re a solid team … We have plenty of chances, it’s just putting the ball in the back of the net,” Eideh said.
Coach Scott said he continues to have high expectations of his team and wants his players to play at an even higher level than they have been during their successful run this season.
“They’re getting there. The thing is, they have showed me some very, very good soccer so, with a coach’s mindset, I guess to expect that more often [if not] all the time,” Scott said.
As of Oct. 19, the KSC Owls sit tied for fourth place in the standings according to the LEC website.
The team has two more in-conference match-ups this year against Western Conn. and Southern M.E.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org