Soccer team’s hot start cooled off by Denver

Dylan Brockmeyer | Asst. Sports Editor | @dbrock08

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The University of San Diego men’s soccer team suffered their first upset of the 2015 season last Sunday when the University of Denver Pioneers scored a goal in the 85th minute in a match played in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first loss for the Toreros was highlighted by 11 shots on goal against sophomore goalie Thomas Olsen. The Pioneers first took the lead in the 22nd minute and the Toreros tied it up with a rebuttal four minutes later with a goal in the 25th minute by senior forward Torrey DeArmas. However, the Toreros finally fell behind in the 85th minute when Pioneers forward Chandler Crosswait scored on a shot 10 yards out. The Toreros are now 2-1-1.

Sophomore goalie and 2014 WCC Freshman of the Year, Thomas Olsen, is optimistic about the Toreros season overall, but was disappointed with their level of play last Sunday.

Going into the game against Denver we felt good about where we were at as a team,” Olsen said. “We just did not create enough chances to win the game. Personally, I always strive for shutouts so you always can take something away from getting scored on. I thought I played well but I couldn’t quite make the save on the shot late in the game and it is always frustrating to get scored on that late because it very hard to equalize with four or five minutes left.”

Senior forward Keegan Smith agrees with Olsen that the Toreros did not quite have their heads or hearts in it playing against the Pioneers.

“The team as a whole was off really,” Smith said. “We weren’t connecting passes like we can and that hurt us a lot because it gave Denver a lot of the ball. The team’s energy level wasn’t 100% either, likely because of Friday’s draw with New Mexico, but that’s no excuse. We needed more effort and desire all around. I feel Denver, as a whole, wanted to win more than we did.”

The Toreros were returning from their first exciting away game against the University of New Mexico Lobos on Sept. 4 which they tied. This was just after their triumphant shutout against No. 16 Cal right here in Torero Stadium. Torrey DeArmas gave the Toreros a substantial lead with a goal in the 72nd minute, leaving no chance for the Cal Bears.

Based on their progress so far, Olsen does not see any reason why the Toreros will not be strong through their upcoming games. In an email interview, he stressed the importance of home-field support and that the team is striving to take their non-conference play more seriously in order to obtain that NCAA conference bid.

“Although we didn’t get some results this past weekend, I think the team is looking good and we have a lot of good pieces to work with,” Olsen said. “We have more depth than last year and more experienced players. I am excited for the season going forward, I think we can turn a lot of heads around the country. Irvine and SIUE are both solid teams and getting W’s this weekend will be an important task. We love playing at home and getting people out to the game is huge for us.”

So what’s some strategy on the field our boys use to get that W? Smith outlines how he tries each and every game to contribute to the team, it’s not all about being that one leading scorer to him.

“Every game my goal is the same: impact the game in a positive way for my team,” Smith said. “If at the end of the game I can reflect and say I made an impact on that game in one way or another to help my team win, I can walk away satisfied with my performance. In my forward position, I can have the biggest impact by scoring goals, so I chase a goal in every game.”

Both Smith and Olsen expressed that players and coaches are working towards passing, moving and creating opportunities on the field to work as a unit not only to score goals, but also to stay connected and work on both sides of the ball. If our boys beat Irvine this Friday, they move up in ranking and build up momentum towards that NCAA bid players and fans alike are hoping for. The Toreros face off against No. 13 Irvine at home this Friday in Torero Stadium.