By: Collin Frazier
Blessings come in many forms to UF soccer team — including a short offseason
With the fall semester up and rolling, the University of Findlay Men’s Soccer team has once again hit the field for their Fall 2021 campaign. Due to COVID-19, the Oilers had a shorter offseason due to a spring season. But to head coach Andy Smyth, this was a blessing in disguise.
“I think we had a fairly good spring. I think that the players kind of got used to the style of playing that we’re asking them to do, which is something we’ve been working on the last few years, I think they’re really got that nailed down” Coach Smyth explained.
“In terms of passing, we like to bring the ball out from the back. We have fairly accomplished that so I think we’re gonna create chances this year… I think we’ll be pretty successful in the conference [when] we start playing the conference games.”
Some Oilers have already made a name for themselves this season, including sophomore Nick McCracken, earning G-MAC Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 6 in a 7-3 victory over Northwood.
“[It’s a] great accomplishment for Nick,” Smyth stated. “You rarely score that many goals in a game, [and] that can be a season’s worth of goals for a midfield player, but Nick’s had a really good start to the year. Last year, he was figuring out what college soccer was really all about. This year, his game has gone up a couple of steps so I’m really expecting him to score plenty of more goals and get plenty of more chances. I think there will be more accolades coming his way.”
Unfortunately, after that domination, the team has been in a rough patch, losing the last two games. Even during a time like this, the Oilers are learning about their team and what to work on.
“I think we learned we gotta be a little bit tougher defensively,” Smyth commented. “I think we can be a good team ,defensively. The offense has kind of come together sooner which is kind of surprising because usually it’s the other way around. The offense takes a little bit longer to get nailed down.”
“I think we have kind of dominated the teams the we played this year, which is something we haven’t done in the past, and that’s kind of something you have to get used to because it means there’s gonna be many chances for the opponent on the counter for attack and that’s kind of where we let our goals in,” he added.
Despite this slow start, Smyth feels the non-conference games affected the team positively.
“Even though we’re 1-2, I think our conference games have been pretty beneficial for us. The guys are confident they can make a play with any team and perhaps dominate every team. Now it’s just a question of whether or not we can get the defensive side of things nailed down, we can have a pretty good year.”
The Oilers continue their 2021 campaign Thursday as they face off against Lake Eerie. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m.