In a set of fitness workouts last spring, some members of the men’s soccer team found themselves struggling to finish. That’s when midfielder Max McKiernan ’14 stepped in. Rather than letting them fail, he grabbed a few of his fellow Bulldogs and pulled them across the line to complete the workout in time.

It is precisely that will to succeed and hard-nosed attitude that led McKiernan’s teammates to elect him this season’s captain at last winter’s post-season banquet. The captain, along with a strong supporting senior class, will attempt to lead the Elis to a rebound from last season’s sixth place Ivy finish.

“Max is definitely the complete package,” defender Nick Alers ’14 said. “He’s definitely a pretty ferocious competitor, he’s one of the hardest workers on our team, so I think that sets a great example for everybody else.”

Last season, the Elis struggled at times to put the ball in the back of the net — during a five-game stretch from Sept. 25 to Oct. 16, the team did not score a single goal. Yet over the final four games of the last season, the team garnered a record of 1–1–2, including a 1–1 tie with then No. 11 Brown, providing its fan base with some cause of hope for the coming year.

McKiernan stressed the strength of the senior class in carrying last season’s momentum, including forward Jenner Fox ’14, who led the team in assists last year, midfielder Scott Armbrust ’14 and forward Peter Jacobson ’14, each of whom tied for team-highs in points and goals last season, and three-time all-Ivy recipient Alers. McKiernan added that he hopes to deliver senior leadership in any difficult moments that the team may have this year.

“I’m working with them, and we’re collectively trying to set the tone day-to-day to be hard-nosed, hard-working,” he said. “That’s personally I think what I bring the most to the team.”

Alers characterized McKiernan’s on-field performance as strong both defensively and offensively. On defense, McKiernan’s hard-working attitude goads him into covering lots of ground, an effort that can even lead to goals at the other end. On the offensive side, McKiernan’s technical skill allows him to be an attacking threat on a consistent basis, playing passes on the ground and switching the ball between the two wings. Because of this, he has been an honorable mention All-Ivy midfielder the past two seasons.

McKiernan said it was very meaningful for him to be named captain by his teammates.

“To be elected by your peers I think really speaks a lot,” he said. “Those are the men you work with every day and going through all the hard stuff side-by-side, so to know that you have their respect is humbling, but at the same time something to feel really good about.”

The Elis will begin their season this Friday at Fordham.