Men’s soccer team looks to capture eighth victory of season

Brandon Shrider and Brandon Shrider

With just two losses on the season, the BG men’s soccer team goes to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with their sights set on capturing their eighth victory of the season.

The game won’t be an easy one for the Falcons, however.

The Mastodons have lost just one of their past five games, scoring six goals during the stretch. That’s the same number of losses and one less goal than the Falcons have accumulated over the same span.

Despite the numbers, IPFW holds a 3-3-3 record for the season placing them 173 of 205 in the Division-I men’s soccer rankings. The 7-2 Falcons are ranked 100 in the same pool.

The Falcons have been one of the premier scoring teams in the nation, fourth in the nation in goals-per-game at just over two-and-a-half, and featuring the nation’s most proficient goal scorer in the country, Pat Flynn.

However, it has been the strength of the defense that has led to the Falcons’ success.

“Concentration on the defensive side of the ball has been really good,” said head coach Eric Nichols. “The organization and the playmaking have been good. For us to have any sort of success, it has to start on the defensive side of the ball.”

Despite the early-season success on both sides of the ball, the Falcons are still eager to improve as Mid-American Conference play approaches.

“We still need to improve, but it’s just bits and pieces here and there. The really small things,” said junior defender Jake Genrich.

It’s these little things that will ultimately define the season for the Falcons.

A 7-2 record to date is a positive for the Falcons, but they have aspirations for a MAC championship and they must find ways to be victorious as the season continues.

“It’s always harder to win games in college,” said sophomore forward Pat Flynn. “But our team motto is do whatever you can to get the win.”

The team just needs to continue playing as a team to get the results it wants, said senior midfielder Danny Baraldi.

However, ‘a team’ is something the Falcons are still starting to use.

For most of the season, the Falcons have used just one starting lineup, often using only one substitution per game.

Coach Nichols understands that a lack of depth will become problematic as the season progresses.

“Depth is definitely one thing we’re looking at,” Nichols said. “We’ve got some guys showing well in training, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more guys soon. They have to play their way in, but they’re knocking on the door.”

This was evident on Sunday as redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Heuton received his first start for the Falcons, ultimately posting a shutout.

The Falcons will look to get more players involved as the season progresses, but their goal will not waver: play defense, score goals and find a way to win games.

They have been successful thus far, but now they will look to be 8-2 with a victory over IPFW.

“What happened in the past doesn’t matter,” Nichols said. “It’s all about the next game.”