Soccer is supposed to be a low scoring game. But it seems that nobody told the Men’s Soccer team this when they faced off against Cabrini College on September 15th. Before Cabrini knew what hit them, the Eagles had put a touchdown and an extra point on the board. Cabrini walked off the field in shame, victims of a 7-1 beatdown.
“We expected the game to be much closer,” said Eagles coach Mark Wagner humbly. He said this with good reason, because Cabrini recently came off of a victory against DeSales, one of the MAC’s top teams. Wagner credits the victory to his team’s depth and “attacking fire power.”
The Eagles followed up the demolition of Cabrini with a hard earned 2-0 victory over Haverford, and a 4-0 clock-cleaning of Centenary on September 22nd.
Eastern currently owns a 4-1-1 record, placing them in a deadlock for first place in the MAC with Delaware Valley College. Eastern’s success has also won them the #8 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The team’s only loss of the season came in a well fought battle with the #14 team in the nation, Rutgers-Camden.
What makes Eastern’s achievements all the more impressive is that freshmen make up half of the team’s roster. Eleven freshmen have seen playing time so far this year, and six were starters. In addition, the first-years are leading the stats in prominent offensive categories. Case in point, freshman Ben Hriscu netted a hat trick in Eastern’s emphatic victory over Cabrini.
Mark Wagner calls the group his “best recruiting class in the last decade.” While freshmen may be leading the team statistically, Wagner credits the upper classmen with providing overall leadership.
Interestingly enough, only two seniors are on Eastern’s squad this year, Matt Lieg and Dan Shields.
Shields shared some insight on being an elder statesmen on a young team. Shields said, “From my perspective as someone who has been here for 4 years, I’ve never seen a class more willing to jump right in and buy into the vision we have as a program. They are reminding us upperclassmen what it was like to have that never-say-die attitude, and us upperclassmen are trying to help them learn from our experience. If we get a good balance figured out, it will make for a very, very good year.”
Coach Wagner is already encouraged by the way that the team is coming together. “The freshmen have meshed extremely well with the rest of the team,” says Wagner.
One unfortunate note for the team is that freshmen starter, Eric Giovagnoli, may miss the remainder of the season due to an injury. Giovagnoli played a large role in Eastern’s early success.
For Wagner and his team the goal is just to keep winning. For a young team still growing, Eastern has done a great job of doing just that.
Eastern’s conference season begins October 6 at home against Manhattanville.