Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 15, 2019

Midfielder Zryan Abdullah passes (Nick Rush)

Men’s soccer midfielder Zryan Abdullah readies to pass the ball for the Spartans.

Photo provided by Nick Rush

Men's Soccer Wins Overtime Thriller

Ryan Daine


Following a 4-3 overtime victory over Olivet College on Sunday afternoon, MU’s men’s varsity soccer team is amped up, and ready to keep the winning energy going.

Following a win and a draw in Illinois the past week, the team has been struggling to bounce back after losing several starters to various injuries. Pushing through the problems, the team returned on Sunday to face Olivet College, in the cool and rainy fall air, on its home turf.

Thanks to the leadership of several players who stepped up to fill the cleats of their injured teammates, the Spartans were successful in coming off the muddy field with another victory under their belts, bringing their early season record to 2-2-1.

Following the end of the match, the players seemed very happy and excited for their next matchup (DePauw University, Sept. 14). The energy was very much alive and present, as the attendees and players alike were buzzing with excitement.

One such player, Matthew Roop, has goals for going forward. “Getting into and eventually winning the conference title is definitely at the top of everyone’s list here,” he said. Roop elaborated that later in the playoff portion of the season, rankings based on wins would begin to be taken into account, and would determine how exactly the team would be seeded.

Placing within the top four seeded teams, Roop noted, would grant them access to compete in the conference tourney games, with the end goal being to clinch the title of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Champions.

Personally, Roop wants to take things, “game by game,” he said, and produce good results each game. “Ultimately we want to win the match, but produce personal good results that will help to make me a better player.”

He also recognized that the team is currently “injury plagued,” and that most of the injured players are upperclassmen starters who are key elements to their game plan. Indeed, it has been an uphill battle without them.

Another player, Alex Baker, who has the opportunity to play with his twin brother, Max, was ecstatic about the victory, and looks forward to the upcoming matches. “I’m ready to get back to our winning ways,” he said.

Baker explained that he felt the team was beginning to get on a roll, and said that when the injured players return within a couple of weeks, he feels that the team will begin to shape into a force to be reckoned with. He went further, adding that he feels they have what he calls a “real shot” at making it to the conference tourney.

He has personal goals as well. “I plan to get more involved on the field,” he said. Baker plays a mostly defensive role on the team, but expressed how he has made it a goal to become more of a double-threat player. “I want to begin scoring more goals, and making more assist plays to set up those goals,” he said.

The winning spirit is alive and well within the men’s soccer team, and it appears that they are taking the challenges and roadblocks head on, and in great stride.