Season began ‘new era’ of soccer at Simpson

by Morgan Fleener

After advancing to the Iowa Conference Tournament with the highest seed in over a decade, the Simpson College men’s soccer season ended in a loss on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Clinching the third seed in the Iowa conference, the Storm hosted Central College in the first round of tournament play and fell to the Dutch 5-0.

With this loss, the team ended their season with an overall record of 12-13-3.

Senior Chris Allen said that he and his teammates have nothing to be ashamed of when reflecting back on the 2011 season.

“We were all disappointed that we did not play at the level that we knew we could play at, but it was a good season and nothing to hang our heads about,” Allen said. “I’m glad to have been a part of this program for the last four years and this program will have great things to come next year.”

Freshman Mitchell White believes that while the team lost Saturday it still made a good showing in tournament play.

“Saturday’s game was not as lopsided as the score would indicate,” White said. “They (Central) came away with the win because they were able to capitalize on their scoring chances and we weren’t.”

With the goal of making the tournament set by the team at the beginning of the season, earning a number three seed and having the opportunity to host a first-round game exceeded the expectations of the team for the season.

Freshman Caleb Baker said the fact that the team knew it would be in the tournament early in the season allowed the players to focus on other goals and improvements throughout the year.

“Making it to the tournament this year was one of the main goals the team set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season,” Baker said. “It felt good to make that happen within the first five games of the conference season based on our records and standing in the conference.”

White said that a lot of the success behind this season came from the Storm’s ability to win the games they were expected to win and battle in the games they were not expected to win, which resulted in some upsets in conference play.

“We are heading in the right direction and ahead of schedule from where most thought we would be at by now,” White said. “The team’s success this year was rooted in the fact that we worked hard as a team in both practice and games. We all worked for each other.”

Allen feels that not only did the work put forth by the team put them where they are at, but have been extremely impacted by the addition of their new coach Rick Issacson.

“Coach Issacson has done a great job this year with the team and makes you want to buy into the program and change things,” Allen said. “As one of the three seniors, we have seen the bad times of this program and the three of us seniors are proud to say that we helped him and the rest of our team start a new era of Simpson soccer.”

While losing three seniors for next season, the men have many returning players that have gained experience on the field.

“Our goal for next year is to take another step in the right direction in making this team a contender for the conference title,” White said. “That means making it beyond the first round of the conference tournament.”