Men’s soccer aims for more fruitful season
Sam Tapper — Sports Writer
After finishing the 2018 season with a .500 record of 9-9, the men’s soccer team has their sights set on a much more successful 2019 season.
Consistency was an issue for the Owls a year ago, as last season consisted of a four-game winning streak early on, but also a three-game losing streak later in the season. Head coach, Tom Lang, said he hopes to avoid the latter this year.
“Last year we were not good enough. 9-9 is not acceptable,” said Lang. “We weren’t good enough away from home; we were very inconsistent overall. This year we’re looking for a sense of consistency but also using each and every opportunity in training and in games to get better.”
Consistency is something Lang knows plenty about. During his time at Southern, Lang has established one of the top men’s soccer programs in the nation. He has coached the program to thirteen NCAA Tournaments, including back-to-back national championships in 1998 and 1999, as well as three 20-plus win seasons.
“I still think we have a little way to go,” said Lang. “For the most part, I’ve been pleased with the work ethic and the attitude of some of the players. The younger players have done very well, but we still realize and recognize that this is a process. That this can’t be accomplished in one week.”
Despite only nine wins throughout the previous season, the Owls were picked to finish fifth this year in the NE10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, behind Adelphi University, Southern New Hampshire University, Le Moyne College and Franklin Pierce College, respectively.
A large portion of the Owls core are returning from a year ago, including multiple All-NE10 picks. Among that group is senior forward Devante Teixeira out of Boston, an All-NE10 second team pick who will be tasked with being one of the leaders on the team.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way from my freshman year, being that little punk who wanted everything at his fingertips,” said Teixeira. “My leadership skills are based off leading by example, just working hard, showing up to practice on time, making sure I’m eating the right things, doing my schoolwork and making sure guys are in the right places.”
Teixeira finished last season with four goals and 13 total points, while tallying over 1,000 minutes of playing time.
The Owls also have senior midfielder Blaise Haba returning, another player tasked to carry a big leadership role. Haba, who would record one goal and three points in over 1,200 minutes of playing time in 2018, said he was very pleased with how his team is looking with the season opener approaching.
“So far, this team looks great,” said Haba. “I like everything about this team. We’re like a family, we’ve got each other’s backs.”
Haba said during his freshman year, he would have loads of questions for his upperclassmen teammates, so this year he is making the extra effort to be there for the freshmen with anything they need, no matter the time.
The Owls are set to open their season at home at Jess Dow Field on Saturday, Sept. 7th, as they will host the Mavericks of Mercy College out of the East Coast Conference.
The Owls met the Mavericks in New York to open the season last year, where they fell 5-1.
“We’re ready to have fun this year,” said Haba. “As soon as we start on Saturday with that first game, we’re going to be ready to go.”
Photo Courtesy: SOUTHERNCTOWLS.COM