September 6, 2016
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University Men’s soccer team kicked off the 2016 season Sept. 1 at West Campus Field, falling to the University of Chicago Maroons 4-0. This result though is not an indication of the teams form leading into the season opener.
Head Coach Erick Baumann stated that he was pleased with how the team reported to preseason. The stars had a very strong preseason winning all three of their matches and scoring 13 goals in the three games. They ended the preseason with a convincing 7-0 win over Carroll University, a team they beat 1-0 in overtime in the 2015 season.
“The team reported in good cardiovascular shape, better than last year,” said Baumann, “and we have been very effective in the final third of the field.”
The increased effectiveness in the final third is a direct result of the change of philosophy that Baumann has implemented. According to Baumann, he has switched to a new, more aggressive formation this season in an effort to create a more balanced approach. This new approach will require the team to pressure the opposition’s defense in order to create turnovers and scoring opportunities; although an effective low pressure system is still in their plans.
The depth and experience of the team will also be an important factor in the effectiveness of the new philosophy.
“We have a deeper team than last fall; there are 10 returning starters and 12 freshman that round out our 28 man roster,” said Baumann.
The leaders and veterans of the team will also have an important role this season. First Team All-NACC selection senior Zack Venzon and NACC Defensive Player of the Year senior Gabriel Gongora will captain the Stars and have a significant job. According to Baumann, the captains also pertain to a “core group” of seven other players that help set an example of the way things have to be done.
“My goal as a captain is to ensure that my teammates are committed to this program and have the best experience possible”, said Gongora.
The team goals are consistent and the same as previous years.
“My goal is to improve one day to the next,” said Baumann. “Our team goals are to win the NACC regular season, win the NACC tournament, and make it to the NCAA tournament.”
Even though the team has progressed and is moving in the right direction, there are things that still must be improved. Baumann stated that the team must tighten up things defensively and improve on set pieces, all things that can be fixed.
The Stars now have their sights set on their away match on September 7th against the Elmhurst College Bluejays.