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Men's & women's soccer preview


Here at ONU, athletics are held very dearly among all who tread the grounds of this fine institution. The students, faculty and alumni view the Polar Bears as one of the most talented and most intimidating teams in the NCAA, and two teams that are laying their hearts on the field are the ONU men’s soccer team and the ONU women’s soccer team. With the widespread phenomenon which was the 2014 FIFA World Cup behind us, it’s time we took a look at two teams who may not be as renowned, but are no less talented and committed to the sport they love. So without further delay, let’s dive into the dirt, and see how the Polar Bears are preparing for glory.

The women’s soccer team is gearing up for what they hope to be a very successful season, practicing hard and preparing themselves for what they believe to be one of their toughest seasons yet. Add that on to completing their last season with 10 wins out of their final 21 games, and they are exhilarated to get back in the swing of things. Mark Batman, head coach of the ONU women’s soccer team, told me that the team is exited to start the season and, despite being composed with more young players than last year, the mood was still very optimistic. With the older players taking the lead and showing the younger players how to work together to function as one team to reel in the goals, judging from their 36 total goals from last year, they have a good chance to accomplish just that with their key players, senior Kristina Klusek, junior Alex Weirich, sophomore Shelby Stevens and many others who keep the team running strong.

For their outlook on the season, Coach Batman said that the season would be wide open, but it would be the most difficult for them in September. Going up against the higher placed teams, along with adding Xavier to their schedule, make for a challenging start to the season but one which Coach Batman sees as a win-win for his team, with the ultimate goal of placing higher in the NCAA than last year. This year, Coach Batman expects his team to compete, giving 110% to rise to the top. He also told me that he was expecting more patience from the coaching staff, allowing the team to work out any problems before game to increase their chances and getting everyone on the same page. Balancing academics and their competitiveness while retaining an element of fun needed to keep their head in the game, is also essential to preparing the team for victory.

So now that we know how the women’s soccer team is preparing themselves for the upcoming season, let’s look at the men’s soccer team to see if their thirst for victory is as strong as the women’s, and if they have any new tricks for this year. After a successful season last year, the ONU men’s soccer team is excited about this season, as well as their progress. According to Head Coach Brent Ridenour the team is still putting the pieces together. Coach Ridenour also told me that he and his team had high expectations for this season, with their goal of winning the OAC, and the ultimate goal of winning the national championship. With ambitions like those, the pressure is mounting to make every practice count and make sure every team member can work together in order to operate a single dominating force. 

This year, the men are counting on their older teammates to help guide the younger players in order for that to happen. Team members like seniors Keegan Ross and Chuck D’imperio being the coaching staff’s go-to players for rallying the players to victory as well as aiding in securing goals. For this season Coach Ridenour told me that he and the rest of the team are expecting a tough schedule, one of the most difficult to date in fact. With this in their mind, every practice and every frame of film that they watch will become even more important for them as they march down the path to glory all the while scoring goals, enhancing their strategies and perfecting the team to reach the NCAA tournament. For this season, all the attributes of success: teamwork, strategy, determination hard work and patience, are going to have to be enhanced in order for them to have the best chance to get to the top.

While soccer may not as much of a following in the U.S., and here at the home of the Polar Bears, the men’s and women’s soccer teams are working on their skills in order to achieve the victory they deserve, a drive which has strength that can be compared to that of the top level soccer teams from around the world. With these facts in mind, this season is looking to be a more intriguing season than ever.

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