Fans of Albion men’s soccer have been lucky this year. If fans have shown up to a game at Alumni Field this season, they have gone home having seen a Briton victory. Until Wednesday night, however, road games have been the opposite story.
While it was not a win, Wednesday’s draw at Adrian (5-4-3, 3-2-1 MIAA) was the Britons’ (5-6-1, 2-3-1 MIAA) first road point this season. Their seven points put them seventh in the MIAA, which is still very much up for grabs.
The breakthrough came when Andrew Byrne, Grand Haven sophomore, scored in the seventeenth minute, their fifth road goal of the season. The Britons fought hard, but one Adrian goal and two overtimes later, the match ended in a draw.
The Britons walked away with just one point to add to their total.
“It was just a throw in,” Byrne said. “I went up for it, hit it, and I don’t know how it went in the goal. I turned around, and it was in.”
Coach Jerry Block saw the game as one to build upon.
“It was not only getting a point on the road, but we needed a good performance and we definitely got that,” Block said. “Our guys knew it was a big game, and they came ready to play.”
The Britons are a young team, featuring only three seniors. But last night’s draw proves things are starting to come together for Albion. Block seems to think if they keep playing like they did in the Adrian game, their road record will improve.
“That was the best thing about last night, we had our most complete game we’ve played all year,” Block said. “If that can be our template going forward, no matter if we’re at home or on the road, we’re going to have some good results.”
The Britons now focus on Saturday’s Homecoming contest against MIAA-leader, Calvin. While Homecoming should guarantee crowds, this year’s Britons have enjoyed the fans who come with having an undefeated home record.
“We’re really proud of how much better we are than we were last year,” said Kyle Alsheskie, Wixom junior. “We’re proud to show that to the people who come out to see us when we’re at home.”
Block thinks the atmosphere has improved at Alumni Field and credits the Albion student body for supporting its own.
“One thing we’ve talked about a lot in the athletic department is getting student athletes to support other teams on campus,” Block said. “Even more than that, there’s a lot of students from the general student population who are coming out and really giving us a lift.”
Even with the point on the road and the undefeated home record, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Only the top four teams in the MIAA make the playoffs, and the Britons are just one win away from breaking into the top 4.
“We just have to keep working hard like we have been,” Byrne said. “If we do that, the results will come.”
The Britons play Calvin Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Alumni Field for Homecoming.