The SPU men’s soccer team concluded their 2017 Spring Exhibition Season in a fiery and physical cross-city match up against the University of Washington.
On Saturday afternoon, April 29, the Falcons took on the Huskies, who had recently completed a sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament during their regular fall season. The UW men did not graduate anyone from their team, and therefore came into the match at Interbay Stadium with a large amount of experience and talent.
Throughout much of the match, the Huskies dominated possession. The Falcons were forced to defend much more than intended, but they limited the Huskies scoring with several great saves by sophomore goalkeeper Kary Whitney.
“We did an okay job of containing them, but they definitely controlled the game more,” junior defender Chris Cole said. “They had a lot more possessions than we did, which isn’t what you want, especially against a really good team like UW.”
This was Cole’s first spring season here at SPU, after transferring at the beginning of the school year.
“Spring was fun because we finally got to play some games again and see where we were at,” Cole added. “The team has definitely improved over the past few weeks.”
Similarly, it was first-year midfielder Sam Malloch’s beginning spring season and he, too, agreed that due to a tough spring schedule consisting of numerous matches against high caliber teams the Falcons were required to improve if they wanted to have success.
“Spring really gave me an opportunity to develop my game and for our team to improve as well, which I think was definitely evident in some of our games,” Malloch said.
Despite Saturday’s game, which featured a less-than-desired Falcon performance, Head Coach Mark Collings is remaining very optimistic about The Falcons’ ability to compete well when the next soccer season begins in August.
“We gave the ball away too much and therefore spent a lot of time defending,” Collings said. “We need to be more patient with our possession. But overall it was a good spring for us.”
Due to the graduation of six seniors and several injuries throughout the course of spring, the Falcons were quite low in numbers and therefore everyone played a significant number of minutes in various games.
“We lost some guys to injuries, and we don’t have our incoming freshmen yet, so everyone had to work even harder, and it forced us to be better in the end,” Cole said.
Although the spring season is now wrapped up for 2017 and summer is fast approaching, the Falcons will stay focused on improving aspects of their game that lacked on Saturday night.
“I think the biggest thing we’re going to need to improve on moving forward is our ability to keep possession for longer periods of time,” Collings said. “We want to dictate the game, and we need to be able to keep better possession of the ball to make that happen.”