With five games left in the season, the SF State men’s soccer team continues to work on their goal scoring and chemistry, two points of focus projected earlier in the season. This season the Gators have more new faces with only a few returning veterans. The veterans, who are coming off another losing season, have taken the responsibility to create team chemistry and maintain solid playing to achieve wins.
So far, the Gators hold a California Collegiate Athletic Association record of 4-7-1, despite a three game winning streak. Still, the chemistry and teamwork of the Gators is palpable; five out of the seven losses were within a one goal difference and four of them were lost in the last 15 to 20 minutes. The Gators have been persistently outshooting their opponents 225-156. Both the offense and the defense have built their own rhythm to achieve the Gators’ goals. Here are a few highlights so far.
All of the players on the SF State men’s soccer team contribute to their performance, evident in their strong team bond. However, there are two players who have risen to the challenge this season, giving the Gators an extra push toward success.
Despite recording only one shutout game, Scolman, the team’s goalkeeper, stepped up in a time when all three goalies were injured. Even with a hurt knee, Scolman recorded 46 saves and has been accountable for the solid Gator defense. For most games opponents were kept down to one or two goals, evidence for a strong goalie and solid defense.
As a first-time player for the Gators, Medina took control on the opposite side of the field. Medina controls the ball up top, creating quick passing plays and distributing through balls for chances to score. He has recorded one assist and two goals out of 18 shots, half of which were on target. Although his average might not seem remarkable, Medina shows his teammates that they can’t score if they don’t shoot.
The Gators had a slow start to the season, still finding their rhythm through the first three games, two of which ended in losses and the other in a tie. However by the fourth game of the season, the team chemistry clicked and the Gators picked up their first season win against Cal State San Bernardino.
With the first win under their belt, the Gators continued into a three-game winning streak. The wins were a result of the Gators playing the kind of game they had been striving for all season: quick passing, solid defense and precision. The team is at their best when they utilized the whole field, to build up their goal scoring opportunities through either ground-ball assists or accurate crosses.
The Gators broke their five-game losing streak Sunday when they beat Cal State Stanislaus 1-0. During their slump, the Gators were scoreless four games. The lack of accurate shooting was most evident in the 0-3 loss against Cal State Los Angeles. That defeat marked the second game in the five-game losing streak. Putting goals in the back of the net isn’t the team’s only setback. In losing games, the Gators don’t create the kind of passing game that made them most effective and dangerous in their winning streak earlier in the season.
The team’s chemistry and precision will need to be reestablished in their upcoming games against Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State Los Angeles. The Gators will have to win the rest of their five games to close the season with a winning record. The team has the capacity and drive to get to the championships, but they will have to maintain teamwork and their solid style of playing to do so.