Men’s soccer team prepares for regionals

Players react after winning the Heartland Conference championship game against St. Edward’s University. MSU won 1-0. Photo by Bradley Wilson

With the Heartland Conference championship under their belt, the men’s soccer team players will go into the South Central regionals which begin on Nov. 9.

“I feel confident about regionals. We’ve been working hard since Aug. 1 — all for this moment when it actually matters,” Koby Sapon-Amoah, defender and finance sophomore, said. “We’re deservedly first in the region.”

So far, the team has accomplished being first in the conference and third in the nation. This season has been the first undefeated men’s soccer season dating back to 1972. The 2016 season ended with a record of 18-4-1 and the team placed second in the conference tournament.

“With what happened last year, we wanted revenge,” Nathan Clarke, defender and marketing junior, said.

The men’s soccer team players are definitely going for revenge this season. The team won the Heartland Conference tournament on Nov. 5, and they will receive a bye from the first round of the regional tournament.

“We focus on one game at a time. Our goal was to win conference and that was achieved, so now we are focusing on making the national tournament,” Doug Elder, head men’s soccer coach, said. “We will prepare like it was any regular season game and keep getting better.”

With the guys working toward their goals, Taylor Lampe, goalkeeper and exercise physiology freshman, explained how the fans impact their games.

“The crowd definitely affects how we play, especially when we have a strong backing from the crowd where they are very encouraging,” Lampe said. “It gives us a lot of motivation.”

The finals of the Heartland Conference ended with a score of 1-0 against St. Edward’s University. The first and only goal was made by Scott Doney, forward and psychology senior, in the second half. With several shot attempts blocked by Lampe, the team was able to win.

“We have always had the motivation for have this record. But it’s more about the team and having confidence in each other to do our jobs on and off the field,” Lampe said.

With regionals underway, the players are treating the tournament like every other game. As Elder said, they will keep getting better.

“We are absolutely ready for regionals. We will treat every game the same and none are different,” Patrick Fitzgerald, defender and kinesiology junior, said.

The men’s soccer team will receive a bye from the first round of the tournament. They will play on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. against Colorado Mesa at Stangs Park.

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