September 12, 2014

Men's Soccer Season Blog

Week Four

Senior captain Michael Thompson (Cromwell, Conn.) discusses the team's second game of the season.

Following our game versus Hartford, all of our focus was turned towards Providence for our next non-conference match. Coming into the contest the team was full of confidence from our solid performance against a talented Hartford squad. We had a full week of practice to prepare and get in the mind set to achieve a good result against the Friars.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the school year and it was nice to see old faces and re-connect with past professors. After a long day of classes concluded, we were back at it up on the field for a tough day of practice. Leading up to the Friday night clash versus Providence, it was important that each player on the team knew the role that they needed to perform to get the job done. Coach did a great job of laying out the game plan and giving us an opportunity, through practice, to put the plan into action. Thursday was much the same, however today we watch some film and had a light practice working on different set plays and defensive shapes that we were hoping to execute on in Friday's game.

Game day had come and you could see in all of the boys' faces that they were focused and ready to get a win versus Providence. As we arrived to the Providence campus, we were greeted and directed towards our locker room where we could then get changed for warm-ups. Going through the warm-up, the boys looked sharp and we were confident going into the game. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong side of a 2-0 defeat, but there were positives that we took from the game to improve upon moving forward.

On Saturday we had a re-gen session for those who played the majority of the game, and for the rest of the boys it was a day to maintain our fitness and stay sharp on the ball. Re-gen sessions are always a great time because we have competitive short-sided matches in which no one wants to lose… typically emotions run high on these days. Following the re-gen on Saturday, we had an off day on Sunday, which was nice so the players could rest their legs in preparation for our contest versus Monmouth on Saturday.

Week Three

Junior captain Kevin Wright (McKinney, Texas) discusses the team's first game of the season.

Now that preseason has officially ended, this week was essential in preparing for the regular season. We accomplished a lot, as we focused the team in order to reach for the same goals. The Freshman Orientation program allowed the young guys to have new experiences and gain a better understanding of the Holy Cross Mission. While the guys were excited for people to get on campus, we also needed to stay focused on Hartford. This week was one of excitement for all of us as there was a lot of commotion around campus and realizing that the season is finally here.

Tuesday found us feeling limber as we had yoga in the early morning. Yoga was an instrumental part for us this preseason, as there were very few injuries. I thought the yoga sessions were great because it allowed us to be one with our bodies, taking the time to relax and just be in the moment. Once we finished up making a sauna out of the rec gym, we took a break and went right back to work in the weight room. For us older guys, we went off on our own and did a quick workout to maintain our strength. The freshmen stayed with our strength and conditioning coach and learned the correct lifting techniques. Following the lift, coach graced us with the news of an off day on Wednesday.

While most of the guys stayed on campus and took the time to rest, cabin fever took over the junior class so we decided to hit the links. The Par 3 course found me frustrated as grandpa Luke somehow won by putting the ball down the fairway only to win by one stroke. The other three were not in contention of the top spot.

The next morning was long as we hashed out what our team goals would be and what we need to do in order to reach our goals. It was great to see everyone involved in deciding where we want to end up. Our vocabulary was tested as we struggled to arrive on common ground when speaking about our goals. Once our meeting was adjourned, we headed to a light practice, going over set pieces and a little bit of finishing.

Friday was game day. We woke up early and had a team breakfast followed by film in the locker room. Once film was finished, we went out to the field to go through our shape as a team and walk through specifics on how we needed to play. We went our separate ways trying to get our mind off of the game for a little bit. We met back together for a team lunch, and finally headed up to the Hart Center to get dressed and warmed up.

The game kicked off at 7:05 p.m. with everyone jazzed up to play. We went into half tied 0-0. The defense was very organized and we had our fair share of scoring opportunities. Our back line was very strong as our preseason work was paying off. The midfield was playing well and moving the ball around, getting the forwards involved. The second half came with excitement, as Arno Rupp was able to put us on the board with a great finish. Unfortunately, we let a goal by later in the game that tied the score at one. Our toughness was tested as we fought to the last whistle to finish with a 1-1 draw.

Saturday is always one of my favorite days because it is a regeneration day for the players that played a lot of minutes. For the goalies and the rest of the players, it is a time to compete and work hard so that everyone is staying sharp and fit. The emotions ran high and the intensity was raised, as no one wanted to lose. This day was also a day for the freshmen to go off and meet the rest of the incoming class and get their feet wet.

Sunday was a tough practice as we are preparing for our next game on Friday at Providence College. The freshmen were absent from practice because of orientation meetings. Monday was an off day for the team, which was filled with relaxing and the outdoor Edge Dance Party at the Kimball Quad. I do have to add that the dance skills on the team are very strong.

We are looking forward to school starting on Wednesday and our next opponent on Friday.

Week Two

Senior captain Will Bowers (Raleigh, N.C.) discusses the team's preparation for the season-opener on Aug. 29 versus Hartford at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium at 7:05 p.m.

We had another solid week of training in my fourth and final preseason here at Holy Cross. This has been the best preseason thus far and it's been exciting to see the team improve and come together as a unit. Thursday marked the last day of double sessions, which brought about a sense of excitement amongst the team because the regular season seemed just around the corner. First, there was work to do. We fixed mistakes on both sides of the ball that were made in our first preseason game against Boston College, built upon a multitude of positives we took from the game, and started to prepare for our second preseason game against Southern Connecticut on Saturday.

The game went smoothly as we came out with a 2-0 win. Our goals came from sophomore Joey DeVivo and freshman Brad Ross and were both an indicative sign of our progress and improvement as a team. This was the first concrete sign of our hard work paying off.  Needless to say, the morale amongst the squad was high and the attitudes were positive. However, with only one short week before our first game, we realized it was time to buckle down and grind out the work we needed to get done.

We had a much needed yoga session on Sunday morning. We've had a tough preseason and yoga has been a crucial part in maintaining our fresh legs and keeping are bodies loose and flexible. Rare for preseason, we haven't had a single muscle injury and I owe a lot of that to the yoga sessions. With the rest of the afternoon off, we went to play a competitive round of mini-golf as a team. The seniors, of course, reigned victorious with the lowest average score. Like the ropes course we did last week, the mini-golf was an awesome team-building event that allowed for the boys to bond and gel together off of the pitch. Ultimately, a strong team off the pitch will need to be a strong team on the pitch.

 

We had our third and final preseason game on Monday night against UMass-Lowell. Unfortunately, we came away with a 1-1 draw. We went down 1-0 in the second half, but the team impressively responded to the adversity and managed to draw even in the closing minutes. This resolve is something that is going to be crucial in the regular season, specifically in Patriot League play. Although the team was disappointed with our play, we took a lot of positives out of the match to build upon and a few negatives that we will use to improve as we move forward.

As preseason is coming to a close, we're looking to absorb every bit of information possible in order to be in our best form as the regular season begins. We're going to spend the rest of the week preparing for our first game against Hartford at home at 7:05 on Friday night. We should have a productive week working out the kinks in our system and developing the routine and rhythm that will carry us through the season. You can follow our updates, progress and information on Twitter @Crusader_Soccer and Instagram @holycrossmenssoccer. We would love to see you at our games!

Week One

Assistant men's soccer coach Justin Kahle kicks off the team's season blog.

Welcome to the Crusader Men's Soccer Blog. This will be an opportunity for our players to discuss the week's past events and what their experiences have been like thus far. Each player will give different insight into the season and the growth the team has shown along the way. 

My experience is a new one. This is my first season at Holy Cross, my first chance to develop lasting relationships with the players, my first chance to make an impression and help this group move forward, my first chance to enjoy what Holy Cross and this team has to offer. We are a week into our preseason and on the verge of competing in our first preseason game. The commitment from the players has been excellent and it is easy to see that there are slowly forging a bond that is necessary to compete in the college game and the Patriot League in particular. It has been fun to watch and be a part of. As we move forward over the next week we have some solid preseason tests that will give us a good indication of where we are as a group and what strides we need to make in order to reach our team goals.

We enjoyed a team-building event a few days ago that allowed the team to become more comfortable and open with each other. Having an event like this before our first game is crucial in continuing to fortify the bond between the group.  It was a great experience for the group with benefits that should impact the team throughout the season. 

We also enjoyed our first preseason game yesterday afternoon at home versus Boston College. The first preseason game is always an interesting one. Legs are heavy, tensions are high and it is the first opportunity for the players to get any nerves they might have out of their systems. The result didn't go our way, as we were on the wrong end of a 2-1 result, but there were an incredible amount of positives to take out of the day and a lot that we can use as we move forward during this preseason.

I'm happy with the way this preseason has started and I am looking forward to the coming weeks. This blog will be a way for everyone to stay connected with us! Our alumni base, family and friends have laid the foundation for the current group and we want you to enjoy each moment with us. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @Crusader_Soccer for updates and information about the team's travel and on Instagram @holycrossmenssoccer. We hope to see you at our games and please reach out to us if you attend. We would love to meet you!