By Shane Lydon, Sports Editor
Photos courtesy of aqsaints.com
A frustrating season for the Men’s Soccer team came to a close last Saturday following a 2-1 defeat to Cleary University. There was some spirited performances throughout but they were unable to turn those performances into winning results, ending with a 1-10 record in conference play.
With the likes of Jake Bedi and Alex Mendez departing last season, there was a major void to fill in the goal scoring department and that was a major factor that became evident early in the campaign. Aquinas created more than enough chances in games but struggled to make the opportunities count when they needed it most. Saints only managed to score more than one goal once in 11 conference matches this season and that is decisive at this level.
Despite the feeling of disappointment at the end of the campaign, there is a feeling that this was a season of transition for Aquinas. Some of the younger players will have gained some valuable experience from the team’s seniors that should help them for next season.
The end of this season also sees the end of the college soccer careers of Nic Ellingboe, Marlon Bykerk, Jason Lenon, Sean Bopra, Manny Ibarra and Matt Sinthasomphone. These men have played key roles for Aquinas over the past four years, both on and off the field, and despite a disappointing final season, it is important to appreciate how much they have given to Aquinas.
One of the outgoing players, Marlon Bykerk, reflected on his four years with Aquinas. “The last four years playing soccer here at Aquinas have been the best years of my life! I’ve met so many wonderful men. From my freshmen year to my senior year I have made many memories I will not forget and have created many friendships that will last a life time.”
Bykerk went on to thank everyone who has been a part of the Men’s Soccer program over the past four years. “I thank everyone who has been there supporting our program through the highs and the lows! This whole experience wouldn’t be the same without y’all!”
It may be the end of the athletic road for these men at Aquinas but the show must go on for this team. The responsibility falls on the rest of the squad to ensure that Aquinas can flourish again next year.
Good luck to this year’s seniors in their future endeavors. In the words of Bykerk, “Once a Saint, always a Saint!”