BY Caroline Bolletino
October so far has been a month full of traveling for the Sacred Heart University men’s soccer team. They have played three of six scheduled contests for this month and five of these six contests are road games.
“We always love playing at home and having the feeling of defending our home turf,” said redshirt sophomore Joey Zacchia. “But we see no difference playing somewhere else. We just have to put our best foot forward and win.”
The team’s first game this month came on Oct. 5, against Mount St. Mary’s College. Senior defenseman Elias Uyar scored the overtime goal to defeat Mount St. Mary’s, 2-1, in what was the team’s first Northeast Conference (NEC) win of the season and second win overall.
The team’s first victory of the season came at home at Park Avenue Field on Sept. 2, against Manhattan College. They won that game, 2-1, as well.
“That was one of our standout games,” said head coach Joe Barroso. “They (Manhattan) are nationally ranked in the Top-30.”
The team lost their next two games following the victory over Mount St. Mary’s. On Oct. 9, they lost 2-1, to the University of Connecticut (UConn), in Mansfield, Conn. It was also their final non-conference match of the season.
Three days later on Oct. 12, they traveled to LIU Brooklyn and lost 3-2, in overtime.
“We wish we could be playing at Park Ave Field more often, but that is how the schedule is,” said senior Oscar Curras Caballero. “We face those away games just as if they were at home.”
The team is currently sitting at 1-3 in NEC play this season.
“If you look at the record, we are having a bad season so far but the team does not feel like that, which is the best part,” said Caballero. “We are going to try to turn it around.”
At the end of each game, the team analyzes what went wrong during play.
“We always watch the game, we highlight mistakes we have made, and then we take it to the field and we prepare,” said sophomore Zander Hyltoft.
One thing that the team has recognized this season are their second half struggles in games. Of the 13 games the team has played so far this season, they’ve allowed a second half goal in 11 of them.
“We have lost games that we did not deserve to lose and that has affected the team mentally,” said Caballero.
The team hopes that traveling together often this season will give them a chance to work on the mental challenges they are facing together.
“I love this team. They all really get along and the atmosphere is great,” said Barroso. “We are a young team, we have more than 50 percent new starters.”
The team lost some of their starters from last season due to graduation. However, they focus on maintaining a positive atmosphere in order to allow each player to improve.
“We want to be able to make it into the NEC playoffs and contend for the title,” said Zacchia.
The team’s next game is their first and only home contest of October. It will be against Bryant University at Park Avenue Field on Oct. 21.