The men’s soccer team lost their last regular season game this weekend with a 2-1 loss in overtime against UAA rival Washington University. With the loss, the Maroons ended their season 8–8–1 and 2–4–1 in conference play.
Wash U took the lead with a goal from Kenji Kobayashi in the 28th minute. The Maroons answered less than two minutes later when third-year Rashad Masri scored off an assist from fourth-year Alex Clifford. The game went into over time until Wash U’s John Duncan scored at 91:41 for the game winner.
The loss in the final minutes of a game was an unfortunate trend the Maroons contended with all season.
“Unfortunately, the problems in this game were similar to problems in other games which we did not win,” said head coach Scott Wiercinski. “We couldn’t convert our best chances into goals and made crucial mistakes in our own box which led to goals against us.”
“We played well enough to win and we got unlucky on a nice goal by Wash U in overtime,” concurred Masri. “It was microcosm of the season in terms of being unlucky and our inability to get positive results out of good play.”
With their .500 record, the Maroons are out of contention for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. For both the coaches and the team, this came as a disappointing finish.
“Our expectations far exceed a .500 record,” said Wiercinski. “We fell short in many areas on a daily basis that led to a disappointing year.”
The Maroons came off the previous season as co-champions of the UAA. They had also achieved the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Coming into this season, the Maroons were ranked 5th in the UAA but still expected a big year.
“The team feels pretty disappointed about the season,” said Masri. “But ultimately we shot ourselves in the foot too many times both offensively and defensively.”
Moving into the off-season the Maroons are ready to refocus and use this season’s results as motivation to improve.
“We’ll be hungry to make up for a disappointing year, and we know that we’ll have a talented team next year,” explained Masri. “We have to emphasize total focus because we lost several games solely due to mental lapses for minutes at a time.”
Coach Wiercinski is expecting improvement from all members of the team.
“We need to get better in every way,” he said. “Our level of dedication, fitness, strength, athleticism, technical ability, tactical awareness, mental and physical toughness... all are areas which require significant improvement if we are to continue down a positive path.”
At this point, the Maroons are moving past the loss to Wash U and focusing on the bigger picture—revenge next year.