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Ospreys take first victory of the season

By: Jordan Harirchi
Improvements on defense and team possession propelled the men’s soccer team Sept. 3 to its first victory of the young season.
After a poor defensive showing in the regular season opener, the Ospreys squeaked out a one-goal shutout at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. 

“We gave up 14 goals the past four games,” said Greg Crowell, a junior midfielder and team captain in regards to the preseason and first game. “The defense tightened up.”

The Ospreys didn’t beef up the defense for just this game, however. The team improved its possession skills, said head coach Derek Marinatos.

The team frustrated the predictable Lancers by possessing the ball most of the game, he said. UNF didn’t get on the board themselves until the game-winning goal in the 88th minute.

The progress of UNF’s younger players is key to the team’s success this year, Marinatos said. Marinatos has confidence in the team’s abilities but doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the obstacles at hand.

“We’re not going to use being young as an excuse, but it’ll be tough to win,” said Marinatos. “I don’t think they realized how fit they needed to be. They’re learning by fire.”

Freshman midfielder Nick May was surprised at the increase in fitness level from high school to college atheletes.

“I expected it to be a higher level, but I didn’t expect it to be this high,” May said. “What we did was enough. The quantity was good, but the quality could have been better,” said May. Their summer conditioning left something to be desired.

The team continues to grow and mature, Marinatos said. He said the team will continue to improve their athleticism, possession skills and speed of play.

“Once we become fitter as a team, people will get excited to watch us play,” Marinatos said. “It’s going to take time.”

With 14 freshmen on the team, Crowell said chemistry has progressed slowly.

He said the team’s rocky chemistry has hindered the team but will get better as the season continues.

“These kids have to start maturing quickly,” Crowell said. “We have a lot of potential. We just have to gel together at the right time. We’ll get there.”

The chemistry will have to grow this week, as the Ospreys take on a full slate of away games.

Upcoming schedule:

at UCF 9/7 7 p.m.
at UNC Greensboro 9/9 7 p.m.
at Elon 9/11 2 p.m.

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