Men’s soccer uses opening weekend to prepare for season

The men’s soccer team started off the 2016 season at the Christopher Newport Tournament in Newport News, Virginia, ending the weekend with a 2-2 tie against Virginia Wesleyan College and a 2-0 loss to Christopher Newport University.

“The first game was against Virginia Wesleyan. We were possessing the ball really well and playing as a team well,” said Midfielder Liam McNamee, ’17. “We were playing disciplined, but then they scored an unlucky goal. There were a lot of positives even though we came out with a loss and a tie.”

McNamee had an assist against Virginia Wesleyan and two attempted shots against Christopher Newport.

Defender Aaron Donahue, ’17, said the weekend showed the team’s weaknesses and how each individual can improve to make the team successful this season.

“It showed us that we’re definitely not where we need to be, it shows us where our potential is, but we have a lot of things to improve on,” Donahue said. “We had a lot of young guys that played a lot of minutes so it was good that they have this experience early on in the season and we’ll be able to use them later on during conference play.”

Head Coach Angelo Panzetta said the team raised their intensity and matched their opponents in focus, energy and work-rate.

“We were playing two very athletic and talented teams technically, so they really did put us under defensively with a talented group of midfielders and forwarders on both teams, which was good preparation for our conference matches,” Panzetta said.

Following the first weekend of competition, the team is looking ahead at improving for the rest of the season before the conference championship in November.

“We want to be in the final four for the conference tournament. That’s really hard for our conference because we have Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyan [and] Depauw, who are always top teams in the nation, all nationally ranked coming into the season,” McNamee said.

Donahue and McNamee are particularly looking forward to the conference championship and doing their best in their senior season.

“This season, we have a lot of guys returning and a lot of seniors on the team,” Donahue said. “A lot of experience is something that will be extremely helpful through the season, especially in conference play. … [The championship] is definitely where our goals are because we haven’t been there since I’ve been at Allegheny and this is a year we are capable of doing so.”

The men began the NCAC vs. PAC Challenge on Thursday, Sept. 8, and will host the second day on Saturday, Sept. 10. The team will play Grove City College at 7 p.m. at the Robertson Athletic Complex on Saturday.

“It’s always great to be in front of the home fans and be on our own turf,” Panzetta said. “We’re looking to put everything together and get that first win this weekend.”