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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo

Men's soccer starts up conference play

Draw with Mount Vernon, beat Huntington

The Taylor Men’s Soccer team ended the contest against Mount Vernon Nazarene 2-2. This marks the team’s fourth draw this season, with the team at a record of 2-4-4.

The Trojans came out aggressive and fired a quick goal in the fifth minute of the game, with senior Sawyer Watterson finding the back of the net. The Cougars then responded with scoring a penalty kick, evening the score.

More pressure went on to Mount Vernon just a few minutes later, when Freshman Cam Broadfoot scored again. Taylor went into halftime leading 2-1.

Towards the end of the second half, Mount Vernon saw the back of the net a second time off of another penalty to once again even the score. From that point to the final buzzer, no team led up, leading to the draw.

“So first half, we kept it (the ball) well, we pressed well, we defended well” Head Coach Gary Ross said. “But second half was rough…we did not play well. We did not connect enough passes, we were slow in terms of our reactions. ” 

Ross gave high praise to the backline defense, who proved very reliable throughout the season.

Ross has felt a bit frustrated this season. He scheduled the team with harder opponents, so that the team continued to ride the success they had from last year. The injury bug hit sooner than later, and left the team wobbling with injuries to three first year players that all had potential to play quite a few minutes. 

Ross did however speak highly of the offensive and aggressive pacing of the team. Including this game, in the past three the Trojans have played there have been no goals in the run of play, or when the game is actually going. 

“We’ve still been right there, very close,” he said. “There’s not been a game we’ve been in where we’ve been like, ‘Oh my gosh, we can’t win this.’”  

He still believes in this team and the future of this group of men. 

Senior Andrew Siegelin has been a part of the Taylor offense for all four of his years on the team. Currently, he has had career numbers in goals, points, shots and shots-on-goal. He also leads the team in scoring. He has really put in the work to show his efficiency over the years.

“It’s been a few games since I’ve scored,” Siegelin said. “I wanna bury the ball (into the net).” 

Siegelin was noted to say that a team cannot win without scoring, and by taking it one game at a time, his chances of scoring a goal will be that much greater.

For much of the defense, sophomore Sam Spiegel has been helping to defend the back line. He currently has 42 saves on the season, leading all of the Crossroads League in saves for a goalie. In less games played, he is nearing his save mark last year of 52 and having a near exact save percentage in less minutes played. 

“This year I came in ready to, firing on all cylinders,” Spiegel said. “I feel infinitely less nervous, I feel like I have less pressure on myself which makes performing consistently a lot easier.” 

He said that last year he put on a lot of stress and pressure going into his first year of collegiate ball, but now knowing early this year that he was ready, he has put himself in a place to better mentally focus himself for each match.

Spiegel also talked about the freshman class, and how he felt coming in versus how he feels as a sophomore now.

“It’s interesting to think about the difference in confidence and leadership that comes from playing one season as opposed to none,” he said. 

He said the freshman class is big, and rightfully so. The team holds about 11 freshmen, with the rest being sophomores and above.

A lot of Spiegel’s goals have come from his team-oriented mindset. Some include more shutouts as a whole, winning more games at home and not losing the game in the last 15-20 minutes of play, and playing a complete 90 minutes from start to finish.

The men’s team now plays all conference opponents for the rest of the season. Hopefully they can capitalize on their weaknesses and start winning out the rest of the way. 

They started strong with a 3-0 home victory on Wednesday over Huntington University. Sophomores Brian Matipa and Pablo Gonzalez as well as junior Matt Harrold scored for the Trojans.