Story by Carlos Hernandez, Saint Reporter
Photo Courtesy of Andris Visockis
As another academic year opens at Aquinas, the anticipated athletic season also starts. And among these sports, the Aquinas College Soccer Team powers through their season. Currently, the Men’s Soccer team holds a season record of 5-1-0. (A 1-0 win against Cleary University, a 2-0 win against University of Saint Francis, a 0-3 loss against Indiana Wesleyan University, a 3-0 win against Alma College, a 2-1 win against Goshen, and a 1-0 win against Saint Xavier University.)
Meeting consistently, the team sharpens their skills, preparing not just for the next game, but also bigger games down the road; including the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title and the National Tournament. Overseeing these practices is head coach Joe Veal, who is entering his tenth year as the Aquinas College Men’s Soccer coach. He looks at his team with a sense of grounded optimism. He commented on his team saying
“Last year we were too inconsistent; we lost some games we never should have lost, and so this year we’re trying to be more consistent and I think we have been so far.”
Though Coach Veal remains skeptical based on how many shut-outs Aquinas has had on their schedule, he maintains that he is happy with the defense and believes the team has the ability to play well this season and even exceed the outcome of the previous season. He is also pleased with the way the team performed in one of their previous games against Goshen, where Goshen scored early in the game. The Saints responded by maintaining a controlled game across the field, scoring twice more, and winning the game.
Coach Veal also has faith in his upperclassmen players, who have demonstrated improvement in their play skills, practicing more (including offseason), and better performance in games. Among other things, Coach Veal says “The main thing we need to work on is just teamwork and playing together as a team.” Aside from that, he feels the players are more in shape and are overall a better team than last year.
Challenging games that are coming for the Saints include Cornerstone, Madonna, and defending National Champions Davenport. Among these teams, Madonna was one of the only few losses from last season. The men recently defeated Saint Xavier University in overtime by a score of 1-0.
This coming Sunday, The Men’s Soccer team takes on local rivals, Cornerstone University, whose game with Aquinas ended in a draw in double overtime. The coach encourages everyone to come out to support the team and watch what will likely be a fierce game. Good luck, guys.