On The Road To NCAA Finals

       On Sept. 23, students, families, and athletic enthusiasts gathered on the hill alongside the soccer turf to cheer on the Eastern Eagles Men’s Soccer Team as they went head to head against Cabrini University. It was a sweltering day, with a high of 86 degrees, but the Eastern Eagles gave  their best, despite the oppressive heat.

      Senior Co-Captain Jadon Ramsing described the game as “scrappy and physical.” The Eastern-Cabrini rivalry was extremely present on the field as both teams committed fouls and played their roughest in their attempts to win what fans now refer to as “The Battle for Eagle Road.”

      The Eagles were able to impose their will in the first half of the match by scoring the first goal, and by the end of the game, the Eastern Eagles were victorious, beating the Cabrini Cavaliers three-zero. Despite the heat and the game’s physical intensity, Ramsing described it as “lots of fun,” and stated that “[the team] came away with some bumps and scratches, but…it’s always fun beating your rival. [The game] also showed us we have a lot to work on. We did well in the first half, but struggled to keep the tempo in the second half.”

      The Eastern-Cabrini game was not only important because of the established Eagle Road rivalry, but because the Eastern Men’s Soccer Team is preparing itself for conference games.

      Starting Sept. 30, each soccer game counts towards conference placement. Eastern began their journey to the NCAA tournament with a game against Manhattanville College and an unfortunate one-three loss.

      According to Ramsing, this is the point in the season where “the rubber really meets the road,” and “things start to get important.”

      Although the Eastern Eagles are off to a bumpy start, they can certainly make up for this initial loss in the rest of the season. The Eagles also lost to the Manhattanville Valiants in their first game last season, but it did not stop them from making it to the NCAA finals. It seems like the Eastern Eagles are continuing to improve every year; they made it to the first round of finals two years ago and last year they won their first ever NCAA finals round two-zero against the Rochester Warriors.

       The men’s team lost in the second round of the NCAA finals last year, but they have been gradually getting better and hope to go “a step further every time,” Ramsing said. The teams in the division this year seem very well-matched, and the top four out of eight teams go to the NCAA finals, so the Eagles stand a good chance of making it all the way. “We just have to get there…Everyone is fighting for their lives at conference, everything is at stake,” Ramsing said.

       In order to bring their best to each and every conference game, Ramsing, along with Coach Jeremy Payne and Ramsing’s fellow co-captains Brian Plucinsky, Quientin Kiebler, Shawn Dougherty, Jacob Meyers, Cade Harmon and Jake Sankey (known fondly as the four-for-four group) lead the Men’s Soccer Team in practice six days a week.

      “In the first part of the season, we haven’t played our best soccer yet, but it’s okay because we will, but we don’t have time for that [mindset] anymore…we have to play our best soccer every time,” Ramsing said.

       Because of the evenly-matched teams in the Eastern Eagles’ conference, each game will be a big one. “Every result means something,” Ramsing said. Due to the Eagles’ past success, they have become targeted as one of the teams to beat. “Every team will have their best game against us. There is definitely a target on our backs,” Ramsing said.

      The Eastern Eagles are well along the road to the NCAA finals, and Eastern University eagerly awaits to see how far Ramsing and the rest of the Men’s Soccer Team can go. Come out and show your support on Oct. 21 at Wilkes University at 2:00 p.m., on Oct. 23 at Stockton University at 7:00 p.m., and especially at the home game against DeSales University at 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 28.

      Source: goeasterneagles.com

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