The men’s soccer team opened the 2015 season with a 4-0 loss to Grove City College on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
“The execution was not very good and led to a 4-0 loss. We are a work in progress with fitness and unfortunately don’t have a lot of time,” Coach Angelo Panzetta said. “There were spurts of good combinations but sustaining that was an issue. We never got into a rhythm due to the lineup changing frequently.”
Jake Pugliese, ’16, said the team started off strong with quality attacks but gave Grove City too much ground.
Pugliese made six saves as the starting goalie for the Gators.
“We need to improve the way we train, handle the ball and our foot skills. As a team we need to communicate better on the field, and score goals,” said Nick Dias, ’17.
The team lost five senior starters from last year, including the top scorer and is working to fill those scoring positions on the field this season.
“It was our first real game that goes on our record and going away is tough,” Dias said. “We did well keeping our composure and worked hard until the very end. We had guys coming off the bench and not everybody is in shape yet.”
The Gators made 11 attempts at a goal to Grove City’s 19 attempts and four goals.
“Now we have seen the effort another team is giving and we can practice more intensely, everyone from starters to the guys who aren’t travelling with us,” Dias said.
The team is working to get to the fitness level necessary to play competitively in games.
“If the fitness level is where it needs to be, practices are shortened before games. Unfortunately, there is a lot we need to make up and the first three weeks or so will be different than other seasons,” Panzetta said.
The team faces a challenging schedule of teams in the top 25 in the country, three of which are in the conference.
“A strength of the team this year is a strong junior class and seniors who are good leaders,” Dias said. “A weakness is that we didn’t score much last year and our front half getting it in the net so defense is not under as much pressure.”
Pugliese said the family mentality on the team is strong which helps them work together on the field.
“In the past we have had problems with egos and people not being there when the team needed them, but this year we have a community sense,” Pugliese said.
The team is hoping the strong bonds between players helps game play on the field.
“As a team, we want to use non conference games to improve and set our sights on reaching the conference tournament, meaning we would be one of the top four,” Panzetta said.
Pugliese said he is looking forward to being at Frank B. Fuhrer field, having student support through home games, and bringing in results for Allegheny.
The men will face Messiah College on Friday, Sept. 4 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“Grove City is strong, but Messiah is one of the strongest teams in the country, and we know we can’t give them as much ground,” Pugliese said.