October 4, 2016
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University Men’s soccer team has reeled off four straight wins after starting the season with a 0-2-2 record. The Stars had a tough schedule to begin the season losing to the University of Chicago Maroons and Washington University in St. Louis, two teams that are ranked top-10 in the NCAA, with the Maroons ranked third.
The Stars have scored 19 goals and conceded zero in their last four games, and are ready to continue their winning ways.
“The non-conference games to start the season have helped prepare us,” said Head Coach Erick Baumann. “The guys have been training well; the individual and team confidence is pretty high.”
David Ortega, a junior midfielder for the Stars, sees the very high team confidence as a key to achieving their team goals.
“We must keep this high confidence going as we look to achieve our goals of winning the conference (NACC) regular season and the conference tournament,” Ortega said.
The Stars recent success is partly attributed to the teams’ adaptability and high performance rate. According to Baumann, numerous key players have transitioned to different positions and have responded well.
“Several key players, such as Nestor Ascencio, David Ortega, and Alex Rohder among others, are playing in different positions and have responded and performed extremely well,” Baumann said.
The team is playing individually and collectively well, and the recent results have shown. According to Ortega, the team has gone into games with putting pressure on opponents right off the bat to try and score early. Putting teams under pressure early and often throughout the game has proven to be successful for the team.
The Stars tactic of pressuring early has helped the team’s offense.
“The team is doing very well on attacking from the wings; our wingers effectively attack the end line and frequently slot dangerous balls into the box,” Ortega said. “We have also been effective scoring off restarts (free-kicks).”
After scoring only one goal in their first four games, the Stars recent scoring burst was bound to happen sooner or later.
“We have been very efficient in the final third of the field,” Baumann said.
Even with the arrow pointing in the right direction, there are still several aspects of the game that the Stars can improve upon.
According to Baumann, the team is still trying to figure out the substitution patterns and their depth. Along with trying to figure out rotations, Baumann wants the team to defend with more pressure and discipline, as well as play with consistency from one day to the next.
Ortega also agrees that the team must play with more consistency.
“We need to improve on not letting up as a team toward the end of halves; our play and competition level drops off as we near the end of halves,” Ortega said, “the match is 90 minutes and we have to remain consistent in our play and compete for the full 90 minutes.”
After playing two games during the weekend, Gabe Gongora will look to backstop the Stars to another shutout victory this Wednesday, at 4 p.m., as they face the Rockford University Regents at West Campus Field. The Stars look to continue their high-rate of play this week as both of their games are against conference rivals.