As last year’s senior class moves on, the University of Dallas men’s soccer team looks to fresh faces to help them improve upon last year’s efforts. Due to losing seven seniors from the previous season, the team will rely heavily on the incoming freshmen as well as a core group of juniors who contributed last year. After posting a strong 4-0 record to start the season last year, the team sputtered to a 6-6-2 conference record. Looking to avoid a similar season, junior forward/winger Ben Mannings has been working on his stamina in order to maintain consistent fitness throughout the duration of the year.
“I’ve done a lot of distance running over the summer to prepare for the upcoming year. If you have a stronger stamina baseline it gives you a chance to train longer and harder over here in the Texas heat.”
Senior forward Colton Allen is looking to leading the team to a more successful year. Allen led the team with eight goals during the 2014 season, gaining the respect of his teammates, such as junior goalkeeper Tino Gamueda.
“Colton is definitely the leader of the team,” said Gamueda. “You can tell he is the one that wants to take control over the team and make sure we do well.”
The team hopes to score more goals by switching up their formations. After using a traditional 4-3-3 formation last year, the team is switching to a 3-4-1-2 setup. Mannings believes the formation will lead to an increase in scoring opportunities.
“[The new formation] gives us more of a chance to get forward and gives our strikers more room to work.”
The formation aims to improve the average goals per game from the 0.98 goals per game from the previous year.
Despite only coming together as a team on Aug. 19, the group is starting to grow closer.
“We are starting to get to connect and joke around more as a team,” said Mannings.
This connection includes making sure the freshmen mesh well with the rest of the team.
“We are trying to tell them to relax and be themselves because we’re going to need them to contribute this year.”
Along with scoring more goals, the squad wants to defend their home turf. Their first opportunity to do so comes this Tuesday, Sept. 1 against Pacific Lutheran University. After posting a 5-3-2 record last year at home, the team wants to win more games on campus.
“We want to make UD’s home field more like a fortress,” said Mannings. “We want people scared to come here.”