Men’s soccer remains confident as Conference play approaches

by Tim LoneStaff Writer

After a 0-5-1 start to the men’s soccer season, some outsiders might expect Head Coach Mike Wilson to be frustrated with such a slow start to the season.

Wilson knew a start like this was possible with several tough non-conference games in the opening part of the season, including Puget Sound and Gustavus Adolphous, both of whom are ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation. The Storm also played Macalester and Augsburg, who are each in the top five of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Wilson knows that a tough non-conference schedule will help the team in the long run.

“We’re playing against some great teams right now,” Wilson said. “We want to play the best teams because that’s the only way that we’re going to get better. Nobody’s going to be better than the teams we played so far. That’s a tremendous advantage for us.”

Wilson pointed out that, although the team has some things they’re struggling with, they will come with a little time.

“The struggles have been inexperience and team chemistry,” Wilson said. “Those are things that are going to come together as the season goes on.”

Wilson also said that the other issue the team has had in the early part of the season is not being able to play a complete game.

“We’ve played great second halves,” Wilson said. “We just haven’t been able to put 90 minutes of soccer together.”

Wilson isn’t the only one with confidence as the Storm prepares to start their Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season. The players say that despite the slow start, they still feel that they’re the cream of the crop in the conference.

“Everyone can see flashes of why we feel we’re the best team in our conference,” sophomore, goalkeeper Josh Youngman said. “But now we just need to do it for a full 90 minutes.”

With Simpson earning their first win of the season in the conference opener against Coe on Saturday, Sept. 22, Corey Miller, sophomore co-captain and attacking midfielder, is confident but knows the team still has some room for improvement.

“Right now we need to start working together and start finding the back of the net,” Miller said. “We have played some very high quality, high ranked teams that have helped us prepare for our conference schedule. I think we’re going to surprise some teams in our conference.”

Youngman is confident that the team will make some noise in the IIAC this season, given that the team can apply what they’ve learned against some pretty good competition early in the year.

“We still feel like we can win the conference title and get an NCAA tournament bid.” Youngman said. “If we can take what we’ve learned and play with the intensity we had against teams like Macalester, we should beat every team in our conference.”

One common thread between the players’ and the coach’s goals for the season is winning the IIAC tournament and making it to the national tournament.

“We want to put ourselves in a position to where we can make it to the national tournament,” Wilson said. “Making it to the national tournament would help us build a great foundation for the next four years.”