By Joseph Yamulla || Sports Editor
F&M’s men’s soccer team is already off to a fast start in their 2015 season. After playing seven games so far, the Diplomats are undefeated, maintaining their perfect record. The team came into the season with high expectations after a very successful season last year, and every player feels that they can build off their past success to do something really special on this field this season.
F&M seems to be out for a vengeance after losing to Oneonta State in the NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16 to conclude their 2014 season. In their first seven games, they’ve already scored 18 goals and have given up just three. This statistic shows that the F&M offense is every bit as dynamic as its defense. The team has shown that it could win big, and it could win close match-ups. For example, F&M took down Arcadia four-zero on Sep. 4, and also squeezed out a win against Swarthmore on Sep. 19 by a score of one-zero. Chase Tenbrook ’16 is the leader in goals scored for F&M with a grand total of five. Jason Tonelli and Ugo Okolie are also contributors with four each. Jane Schermerhorn leads the team in assists with three, and goal keeper Trevor Britton has an impressive save percentage of .833.
The win against Swarthmore was definitely a huge boost for the Diplomats’ confidence because not only did it improve their already perfect record, but it also gave them their first conference win of the season. They will play two non-conference games on the road this week, first at Stevenson on Tuesday, and then at Washington on the 26th. However, Diplomat soccer will be back on campus Wednesday, Sep. 30 when they have their next conference game against Ursinus college.
One of F&M’s strengths is not only their talent, but also their abundance of young players. Only four players on the team are seniors: Trevor Britton, Devon Malfitano, Chase Tenbrook, and Vince Perry. With their young, skillful roster, F&M plans to contend for the Centennial Conference title this year and in years to follow.
One of the team’s new impressive first-years is Ugo Okolie. Okolie is from Lagos, Nigeria, and has already made major contributions to the team. F&M soccer’s success in recruiting is definitely due in part to head coach Dan Wagner. Coach Wagner has taken F&M soccer to incredible places. From 2006 on, the Diplomats have had 11 winning seasons, they’ve been in the NCAA tournament four times, and also been ranked in the top 25 nationally five times. Despite inexperience and a young core, F&M is not intimidated to make it to the big stage in 2015.
It is definitely important for the F&M community to come out and spend some afternoons and evenings watching the soccer team take on their opponents. This team has certainly given fans a lot to cheer about so far, and they look to keep that going as the air cools and fall truly begins on the soccer field.
Sophomore Joe Yamullla is the Sports Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.