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Men's Soccer Aims to Reach HCAC Tourney
 
Heather Elson
Staff Writer

Playing two games a week, the Manchester University men’s soccer team hopes to enter the conference tournament.

The soccer team has been playing decently all season; but now that they are in conference, the games have a little more meaning because only the top four teams at the end of conference move on to the tournament.  

Before a big game, the soccer team likes to have a focus practice, and the day of the game they talk about the importance of the game and agree to just give the game everything they have.

Last season, the soccer team was tied for fifth in the tournament, because of two overtime games that favored the other teams. This year Coach Good hopes to fix some results from last season and make it into conference. “We set the goal every year to make the tournament.” Coach Good said.  “It is a realistic expectation for us.”

Conference games are against every team in Division III, which are colleges in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.  Hanover, Franklin, Rose-Hulman, Earlham and Manchester are those representing Indiana; while Defiance, Mt. St. Joseph and Bluffton represent Ohio, and Transylvania represents Kentucky.   Manchester has played three out of the 10 so far, and they are Hanover 1-0, Franklin 1-3, and Transylvania 1-4.

“We had pretty bad conference last year, so we knew we had to win the Hanover game,” said Lucas Shelly, senior.

The Hanover game was a close one because Hanover has improved over the past couple of years.  The first goal made by Andrew Gray, forward, was scored in the first 33 minutes of the first half. Gray had no idea that his goal would be the winning goal and he felt pretty good to have made that goal for his team.  The game became intense during the second half because Hanover was stepping up and kicking some balls that got close to the goal, but the soccer team hung on and preserved their 1 goal lead to win the game. “We hung on by the skin of our teeth,” said Coach Good about the excitement brought on during the second half.

Shelly gave kudos to a fellow teammate. “Senior goalkeeper, Grant Noakes, is one of the reasons we are doing so well,” he said. “He has really been stepping it up.”

Last Tuesday was a tough loss against Franklin. The soccer team was dominating play second half and it looked like it was going to go their way after scoring, however, the ball was bouncing around on a corner kick leading them to lose the second goal. The loss to Franklin puts the team  in a less desirable spot than they hoped to be in.  This loss means that the soccer team will fight for a place in conference against Franklin.

Gray put the game in perspective: “It was a very disappointing lost because I felt like we were a lot better than Franklin.” he said. “We just lost concentration at certain moments.”

“We are capable to be in the top four at conference, however every game in conference is very important because the conference is very balanced right now,” Coach Good said. “At any given moment a team could beat another. So we do not take the conference lightly.”

On Saturday the soccer team lost to Transylvania 1-4. The team hopes to redeem their  1-2 losing streak by winning the next mid-week game against Defiance and Saturday’s game against Mt. St. Joseph. 

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