Coming off a season that concluded with an Atlantic East Conference championship victory, expectations are sky high for Cabrini’s men’s soccer team to compete at a high level. Going into this season they feel great about where they’re at as a team.
Matt Duddy, senior forward and captain of the Cavaliers soccer team, said, “I think that we should be able to build off of what we had last year, which was a championship and a first-round exit in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.”
Earning their first conference title since 2017 and 11th overall, continuing that success is the standard.
“You know, I think the expectations for our team are set really high. We want to win the conference again, and then hopefully, we can move on towards the tournament and try to get further than we did last year,” Duddy said.
Return to normal
The past offseason resembled some normalcy for the team as Cabrini survived the height of the pandemic. A typical offseason pre-pandemic has helped them re-engage and become closer.
A lot of the team’s student athletes have joked around about not being used to normal life coming back.
“As we learn to re-adapt to the normal again, it’s been really exciting being able to play what’s natural for us. You know, it’s fun again. We’re able to express ourselves a lot better and really get out there and enjoy ourselves,” Duddy said.
He said connections between one another are at an all-time high, and he has never seen a team as close before. Great bonds are being made in the locker room and morale has skyrocketed.
“In years past, we’ve had good bonds built between our teammates and stuff, but this year it really feels like a true family. Every guy on the team knows they’re welcome and everyone’s got each other’s backs,” Duddy said.
Complacency a concern
After winning a championship, growing complacent is a concern. Duddy said that putting in the work to ensure expectations is on the team’s mind.
Proving that Cabrini’s soccer team is a consistent tournament team, they plan to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament by winning the conference again.
Every team faces adversity, and there’s no telling what obstacles will emerge.
“There’s always going to be a lot of wild cards that are thrown in your way. I think our team has a lot of depth, and I think we’ll have the mental fortitude to be able to overcome any challenges that are thrown at us,” Duddy said.
Matt Kekatos, senior defender, said, “I feel like we have the talent, mentality, work rate, coaching staff is amazing. I think we have all the pieces to do it again. I think it’s a real possibility.”
Openness and communication are present within the team. Kekatos said the Cavs are ahead of what he’s heard about other programs.
“Going into this preseason game, we’re feeling good. I think we’re starting to nail down our style of play, kind of our personality on the ball. I think once we get that completely under wraps I think we’re going to be ready to go. We’re going to be ready to make our playoff run and do what we have to do to get back to that championship,” he said.
After winning the conference last year, Cabrini’s men’s soccer team has high hopes to repeat and make noise in the NCAA tournament. Their last game was on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Rutgers-Camden where they were victorious 2-1. Their next game takes place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Eastern University.