BY JACK RAVITZ
The Sacred Heart University men’s club soccer team opened their spring season with two straight wins. Their wins came earlier in March. They defeated Fairfield University and the University of New Haven on March 9, by scores of 3-0 and 3-2 respectively.
In the first two games, the offense scored a combined six goals. That has been a focal point for the team in practices, working on becoming an efficient scoring team.
Senior captain and starting left winger, Alex Angelescu, emphasized understanding the importance of each drill during practice, since they’ve benefited the team’s offense so far.
“A lot of drills we’ve been working on are focused on finishing in front of the net and being strong with the ball,” said Angelescu. “We’ve also stressed the principle of working on our tactics and formations with and without the ball.”
Other drills the team has worked on have focused on maintaining possession of the ball throughout the course of a game. These drills include getting the ball to midfield and up the field as quickly as possible.
The defense has also contributed to the two wins. Senior goalie Christian Rodriguez, who is a senior staff writer for Spectrum, has anchored the defense and has been a leader for the team.
“Christian has been such a key component to the club soccer program,” said Angelescu. “Having a veteran like him in goal is a tremendous relief and the rest of the defense feels very sound and confident.”
Head coach Kenneth Strachan credited the wins to the commitment that the players put into the offseason. He was encouraged to see the effort that was put into getting stronger and faster.
“During the period between seasons we’ve done a few things to keep all the guys involved, in fair shape, and maintain a touch,” said Strachan. “The training used this offseason were mainly conditioning pieces, where the team is responsible for maintaining a certain cardiovascular level and maintain a high heart rate.”
This year’s roster consists of players from different backgrounds and nationalities. The team currently has five players who are not from the United States. This includes senior captain and midfielder Robert Allingham, who is from the United Kingdom.
Allingham, who has been one of the top goal scorers in the two victories, credits the competition he faced back home in England to his success.
“Back home in England, I was always played to a very high standard. Which now has been extremely helpful with coming into a Division I school and joining a high level club sport,” said Allingham.
The other international players on the roster hail from other European countries such as Italy and Germany. This has helped bring a new perspective to the team.
“When I see other players coming from different countries and the mix of culture, I think it really does dive into our team unity,” said Angelescu. “It brings a unique team environment which is key and It’s fantastic to have this diversity within the squad.”
Strachan loves the team’s morale right now, but he wants the team to remain focused as the season progresses.
“It is essential to celebrate the team’s achievements but one of my philosophies is to make sure the guys continue to stay hungry and humble, especially as we prepare for playoffs,” said Strachan.
The team will continue their regular season schedule beginning next month in April. It begins with a home doubleheader on April 6, against Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University.