Currently last in the MIAA standings, the Albion College men’s soccer team needs to improve quickly in order salvage its season.
This year, the Britons have an overall record of 1-12 (0-8 MIAA). Albion has lost 10 consecutive games, including a 1-0 loss versus Kalamazoo on Oct. 2, a 1-0 loss away to Adrian on Oct. 6 and a 2-1 loss away to Alma on Oct. 10. Albion’s lone victory came on Sep. 4 against Manchester College with a score of 2-1.
“The biggest challenge for our team thus far would have to be putting together a ‘complete’ game,” said Denny O’Dowd, Bishop Sulivan, Va. senior. “Staying ‘plugged in’ for a full 90 minutes is something that we haven’t been able to do much this season. It’s during the times you’re not focused that you’re punished, and, unfortunately, we’ve fallen victim to that scenario on a few occasions this season.”
The Britons have had a hard time finding the back of the net this season. The team has been outscored 29-8, and no individual player has scored more than one goal. Despite the shortage in goals, Albion has only been outshot 143-117.
“We’ve been playing really well,” said Andrew Byrne, Grand Haven first-year. “Actually, we’ve been playing outstanding. We just can’t score.”
Byrne and O’Dowd agree that the toughest competition they have encountered this season has been Calvin College. Calvin sports a 9-3 (7-1 MIAA) record, ranking first in the conference.
“Calvin was certainly our toughest competition,” O’Dowd said. “They have been the only team this year that were soundly better than us on the day we faced them. This isn’t to say that we cannot compete or beat them, but on that day they were both mentally and physically more prepared, and the result showed.”
Both O’Dowd and Byrne said they believe the Britons can turn the season around. However, mental mistakes have contributed to a poor results thus far.
“Despite the losses, I feel that we have been playing well,” O’Dowd said. “You can look back on each loss and pick out parts of the game that we dominated play and outshot or out possessed our opponents. The losses really came down to not us being outplayed, but us shooting ourselves in the foot with mental mistakes or uncommon errors.”
Negative results aside, there has been no disconnect amongst the team in the locker room or off the pitch. The Britons have remained remarkably close through classes and social clubs.
“It is a great program,” Byrne said. “There are a ton of great players. I like to hang out with the guys on and off the pitch. It is a great atmosphere to be in. It has been a great way to meet new friends here on campus. It really has been a great season.”
Coach Jerry Block is still optimistic about the Britons’ upcoming games. Despite the tough season, Block has reamined proud of his team’s effort.
“I’m proud of the team because it would be easy for them to throw in the towel,” Block said. “The players keep battling and they continue to show great commitment. I keep thinking good results will turn our way.”
The Brit’s next game will be played at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Olivet. With a few days off the pitch, the team will be well-rested and ready to serve up some shots against their rivals in hope of finding a big win.