Men’s soccer celebrates senior class

Team closes out home competition with 4-0 win over Wooster


Yutong Wang

The men’s soccer team celebrates a win against the College of Wooster on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. The Gators beat the Scots 4-0 in the last home match of the 2016 season. During pregame warm ups on Tuesday, the team recognized their departing 12 seniors.

The men’s soccer team recognized 12 seniors at their last home game of the season against the College of Wooster, finishing with a 4-0 win.

“That was the best I’ve seen us play in a very long time. The way we moved the ball and communicated was exceptional,” said defender Jacob Hanko, ’17. “We played at a whole new level, and I think that it was for the seniors in our last home game.”

Fellow senior and goalie, Chris DeNelle, said the team’s effort as a whole led to their success and four goals.

“It felt like everybody was there for the seniors. They knew it was our last game on Frank B. Fuhrer field and everybody wanted to send us off on a good note and that’s what happened,” DeNelle said.

Head Coach Angelo Panzetta said he was pleased with the team’s attack and how they stayed aggressive throughout the game.

“It’s something we’ve been working on, and we had some good finishes last night. They really put it all together,” said Head Coach Angelo Panzetta. “Wooster is a good, physical, high-pressing team. We had to play quick, have a good first touch and play quick and early, and I think the guys did that and handled it well.”

The team recognized their seniors during pregame warm ups as they walked through an arch at the midfield line.

“We have a banquet in the spring and we do a bigger senior recognition, but at the senior game, they walk through the tunnel and they’re at the midfield line. And last night they all played and all had significant play in the outcome, starting with [Nick Dias’s] goal,” Panzetta said.

Hanko said holding back emotions during the seniors’ last game was the hardest part.

“We have one of the bigger classes that’s come through, and last year we only had three, so playing for the [12] of us was the hardest part,” Hanko said.

Panzetta said the big class has had a significant impact on the program, with 12 athletes playing a combined number of 451 games.

“Being such a big class, they’ve had a lot of influence which has been great,” Panzetta said. “A lot of hard work and sweat and getting us results, and setting a pretty good example off the field as well with some good leadership.”

Hanko and DeNelle said this season was a memorable one for the seniors since the team did well against tough competition in the conference.

“A highlight was getting two goals against nationally-ranked Kenyon when they’d only given up a few all year, and holding with them until the 73rd minute. And the other two conference wins were big this year, so it was a big year for the seniors,” DeNelle said.

Hanko added that for him, every away game is a highlight in his collegiate soccer career.

“You go different places, some of them you only get to go to twice, and it’s fun seeing all the schools in our conference,” Hanko said. “I also got my only assist in my career this season. I just love playing with all my friends and people I’ve come to love over the past four years.”

The men will close out their 2016 season on Saturday, Oct. 29 at DePauw University.

“Unfortunately we cannot make the playoffs, but DePauw is fighting for a playoff spot, so I challenge the players. For us to get into that top four, we have to beat tough teams on the road,” Panzetta said. “So this is kind of like our playoff game, to see if we can beat a top-level team on the road on Saturday. We hope to have a good effort and hope the game will go our way, and that’ll carry into our offseason efforts.”