With a current record of 2-0, the men’s club soccer team is off to a great start for its 2003 season.
The Bulldogs defeated Wesleyan 6-0 in a game at home Sept. 19. Captain Luke Knowles ’04 led the Bulldogs with two goals. Currently, the Bulldogs are ranked eighth in Region I for the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA).
“Wesleyan came up with a really young team, mostly freshman and sophomores,” forward Jeremy Merkelson ’04 said. “We played with the same intensity the entire game and we never let up.”
Before their blowout win against Wesleyan, the Bulldogs were not among the top 10 teams in the region.
“We used this game to send a message out to the Northeast region of our league,” Knowles said. “We showed some drastic improvement and accomplished what we set out to do.”
One of the most exciting plays of the game was Knowles’ second goal against Wesleyan. Knowles scored on a header assisted by a cross from midfielder Damon Benedict ’06. Knowles has scored three goals in the past two games. Mike Gray ’05, Devin Phillips ’05, Jonathan Swanson ’05, and George Quraishi ’05 also scored for the Elis.
The midfielders, including Knowles, Benedict and Gilbert Addo ’07, had especially strong games.
“[Addo] almost dances out there,” Merkelson said.
Merkelson also had a strong game and provided good leadership.
On the defensive side, sweeper Geoff Schreiner ’06 had a solid game. Jack Facemyer ’07 also made his mark in the backfield.
“We have a good core defense and Wesleyan never even got close to threatening because the defense and the keeper Mike Schoell have great communication,” Knowles said.
This Friday, Sept. 26, the Elis play the School of Management team in a scrimmage, warming them up for the Bulldogs’ first real challenge of the season: the Ivy League Tournament at Yale from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5.
The team to watch out for throughout the tourney will be Cornell United, who went 11-1-2 last season and traveled to the National Tournament. The Big Red will be a challenge to the Elis along with a strong team from Princeton.
“Our competition will be solid in this tournament, but I think we are prepared for them,” Merkelson said.
“Somebody on one of the Ivy teams commented that we can play with any D-III varsity team,” Addo said. “We could definitely go all the way and end up nationally ranked this year. That’s how good we are.”