By Paige Carswell
After three straight losses, the men’s soccer team is trying to pick up where they started.
The men play Saturday at Mid America Christian College. They are 2-3 so far this season.
The men, coming off of a season in which they won only one game altogether (and zero in conference play), won their first two games this year and have already scored three-fourths the number of goals in all of their 2009 season.
Led by a core of players that includes five freshmen starters, Ruben Sanchez, head men’s soccer coach, said he wasn’t sure where the team would be when they began the season last weekend in Dallas, but he ended up being pleasantly surprised. They took out two non-conference opponents in their first two games.
Jason Bond, senior defender, said that the recruited freshmen players are one of the reasons for the team’s success so far, but they still need leadership from the upperclassmen. “The youth are key to the team, but it’s the veterans that have to set the tone,” said Bond.
In their first game, the men shut out a weak Dallas Christian College team 3-0. They were led in goals by freshman forward Karlo Sanchez, who scored two. Jonathan Torres, freshman midfielder, scored the other. Daniel Forsyth, junior goalkeeper, ended up with eight saves and Edgar Gonzaga, freshman midfielder, had two assists.
In the second game against the much stronger Southwestern Assemblies of God University, the men pulled out a 2-1 win in double overtime. Andrew Bonvehi, senior forward, scored both goals for the Builders. Bonvehi was assisted by Torres and Jordan Silerio-Rivas, sophomore forward, with the goals. Forsyth had 15 saves.
“I thought that for the first weekend, we looked pretty good,” said Sanchez. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect for those games, but we went out and played hard, and the ball just kind of bounced our way.”
In the men’s loss Thursday evening to Oklahoma Wesleyan University, they went into halftime tied at 1-1. After that, though, the scoring was lopsided. They fell to OWU 3-1 for their first loss.
Then, on Saturday against 1-2 Bacone College, the men lost 2-0. They had five shots on goal, and Forsyth finished with five saves.
Still, with five games until conference play, Sanchez is hopeful.
“We have a lot of time from now until our first match that counts,” he said. “We definitely want to win and we want to go in there with a pretty good record, but right now we’re preparing.”
Part of the preparation, he said, will be building a team bond. Sanchez brought in seven freshmen—and he’s currently starting five of them.
“That says a lot about the class that we brought in, talent-wise,” said Sanchez. “Our main thing is, we’re still pretty young. We need to get better as a team. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Forsyth is the only Builder ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He is currently eighth in the nation in saves per game with 8.75, and 12th in total saves with 35.
Bond said that as soon as the men can put it all together, he’s excited about the team’s potential. “If we play to our full ability, everything we want to happen will. That’s how much talent we have.”
The game against Mid America Christian will be at 4 p.m.
The men won’t begin conference until Oct. 1 with an 8 p.m. game at Friends University.
“The [games] we are preparing for are the ones that count, and that’s how we’re looking at the games right now,” said Sanchez.
Paige Carswell is a senior majoring in journalism. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.