By Paige Carswell
That’s the word most used to sum up the 2009 men’s soccer season. After going 1-15-1 overall and 0-9 in conference play, that’s understandable. The men began the season struggling after losing some players to injuries and others to outside circumstances and never really recovered.
“I think if that wouldn’t have happened, we could have been a pretty good team,” said Jason Bond, junior defender.
As it was, the men only made eight total goals the entire season, and ended ranked 16th in the nation in goals allowed. More bewildering, perhaps, was that they were ranked 17th in saves per game and 20th in total saves.
The reason? They were outshot by their opponents 129-20, often making the games look more like target practice on goalkeepers Andrew Bonvehi, senior, and Daniel Forsyth, sophomore. That’s a situation Sanchez hopes to remedy by bringing in recruits.
“Andrew and Daniel had their work cut out for them this year,” said Ruben Sanchez, head men’s soccer coach.
Bonvehi found his place at both ends of the field. After being moved to guard, he ended up being the team’s leading scorer with four goals for the season.
“That just goes to show you what kind of player Andrew is,” Sanchez said. “To be able to come out of the goal and score for the team takes a lot of athleticism.”
Forsyth ended up ranked 40th in the NAIA in saves per game (5.690) and 42nd in total saves (91)—a number skewed by the colossal number of shots taken on him.
“It was very frustrating,” he said. “I’ve never been so active in a game before. We were playing defense 80 minutes of a 90-minute game.”
That’s not to say it was a walk in the park for the others. The loss of anticipated players at the beginning of the season left only two to five men on the sideline for the rest of the games. Overworked and exhausted, the men went on to lose their final 13 games, including all nine in conference play.
Instead of winning, it turned into a struggle just to get through the season, with goals branching off into more personal ones.
“I just wanted to go out there and show them they I knew what I was doing,” said Bond. “I wanted the other teams to know that I was good.”
Sanchez said there are six definite recruits for next season and three more in the works, and he can only hope the new players will bring some offense to his team. Of the eight goals the men scored, they only return only one in Stefan Carter, freshman midfielder.
For the players returning, the silver lining comes with those recruits, but for seniors Bonvehi and Shane Neises, forward, it was the last competitive season they’ll play.
“It was hard,” said Neises. “Going through a year like that is just tough for anybody that’s a competitive person. I’ve been playing since I was five. It’s been a long time.”
Neises, originally from Oxford, transferred to Southwestern after playing for Garden City Community College his freshman year, where Neises it was the first time the team had made the playoffs in years. Still, coming into the season, he had a simple goal.
“I just wanted to be healthy and ready to play,” he said. “I was pretty much just ready to do whatever Ruben asked me to do. I’m just happy with playing. It helped me through school.”
The 2009 season leaves the 2010 season to be built from scratch. The only word that sums up how players want to do next year?