As the Cabrini men’s soccer team walked onto the field on October 31 for the semifinal round of the Atlantic East Conference Championship against the Marywood University Pacers, the Cavaliers had one thing on their minds: revenge.
The mindset before the game
Sophomore Colin Stocklin, center-mid defense, said, “We lost to them earlier in the season. Usually we’re joking around with each other, but before the game there were stares into nowhere and shaking legs.” The previous game against Marywood on October 14 led to a devastating defeat, with a final score of 3-1.
“Soccer’s a funny sport because it’s not super high scoring, the way you control a game doesn’t always translate to the score,” said men’s soccer coach Rob Dallas. Dallas noticed the team’s state of mind before the game, and how dedicated they were to defeating Marywood this time. “Any time you get to playoffs, there’s always a mixture of excitement and nerves and some anxiousness, and all those things were true,” he said. “We knew those guys were excited to play, and having the opportunity to redeem ourselves was something the guys really had in their sights.”
The entire team was dead set on victory, not even taking the time to taunt their opponents. “They came out firing at us and talked a lot, so I said, ‘Let them do the talking, and let our playing do the talk for us,'” Stocklin said.
How the game played out
In the first 12 minutes, Matt Duddy, graduate student forward, scored the first point of the game after Cabrini was given a penalty kick. “With a low-scoring sport, going down early in a match can often be an uphill battle. We started really well and we put them under pressure right away,” Dallas said.
During halftime, the team was intent on keeping its advantage going. “The coaches knew what we wanted to do, and they knew that we could do it,” Stocklin said.
Cabrini maintained pressure on Marywood, eventually scoring a second point. “We knew it was a big mountain for the other team to climb,” Dallas said. Marywood attempted a comeback, scoring their first point with only four minutes left on the clock.
However, Cabrini secured its victory by a score of 2-1. “Everyone felt how tense it was in the beginning, but once the game started it was like the shackles were off,” Stocklin said.
Finishing out the AEC
Despite the monumental victory against Marywood, Cabrini still has one final match against Neumann University. The final match will take place on November 4. Just like Marywood, Neumann also defeated Cabrini earlier in the season, with a score of 3-2.
In the previous games against Marywood and Neumann, Cabrini gave up three points to both teams. In the recent game against Marywood, Cabrini only gave up one point. Learning from the redemption match against Marywood, Stocklin said, “We just need to defend, and defend with pride.”
Dallas commended the team for its teamwork, and is confident Cabrini will finish the AEC with a victory. “They knew exactly what this year is going to be, and because of that I think it’s allowed us to rise together in big moments. One of the big things we talk about is playing for one another,” he said. “We have 12 seniors on the team, and they’re the reason we’re able to have a team. And the guys who came back to support them are the reason we’re able to have a team, For me, that’s what makes this group a special one. They’re all in it for each other.”