That's certainly what Head Coach Jared Scarpaci and the Emerson men's soccer team are hoping for this fall. While Emerson has been known in recent years for its forceful defense, a strong offense may be what will lead the Lions this year.,Often new strengths come with the start of a season.
That's certainly what Head Coach Jared Scarpaci and the Emerson men's soccer team are hoping for this fall. While Emerson has been known in recent years for its forceful defense, a strong offense may be what will lead the Lions this year.
Averaging an impressive four goals per game thus far, the strong group of 10 seniors and some speedy underclassmen looks to spice things up in the GNAC with its high-powered attack.
Leading the Lions in that department will be Co-Captains Nick Strauss and Mike Giles, along with the help of quick center midfielder Eric Dabdoub.
Junior Dabdoub has already made his presence known this season with five goals and two assists in only two games, and is one of many athletes who comprise what Scarpaci calls a very talented team.
"From Dabdoub, to seniors Casey Shane, Sam [Perzanowski], Phil [Svitek], and many others, we can score all the way through," Scarpaci said.
Despite gobs of offensive talent, Scapaci still believes the Lions will have to fight for every victory and stay mentally in-tune to each task at hand.
"There is a lot of parity in the GNAC," he said. "We could go out there and beat every opponent and each opponent could just as easily beat us. It's that even."
Things that may help distinguish the Lions are the hard work ethic of the team's bench, which is capable of scoring goals and making an effect on the field.
"Everyone on this team can score, all the way from the starters on through the bench," says junior co-captain and interactive media major Mike Giles. "We have lots of depth."
The transition from a defensively minded team to one that actively looks to score will take time and assertive play from the Lions.
"We really need to impose our style of play early on the opponent and make them play to our strengths," said writing, literature and publishing major and midfielder Zach Sayward.
Trying to round out all facets of the game, the Lions have spent the past few practices working out kinks in defense and transitional play.
With a tough schedule ahead of them, success for the Lions will not only require a great set of skills, but also a required psychological toughness if they plan to stay on top of their game at all times, something the team has quickly found out.
After winning their season opener on Sept. 3, the Lions couldn't quite hang on in the late stages of a 5-4 loss to Anna Maria College at home on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
"I think we had a few mental lapses in our loss [against Anna Maria] last week and that's why we let it slip away," Scarpaci said. "We need to stay healthy and mentally focused on finishing our plays to have success."
The offense began to show glimpses of scoring ability late last season as one of only two teams that scored three goals in a game against division powerhouse and NCAA tournament qualifier Norwich.
Those three goals, however, came in a first-round playoff loss, something the Lions are determined to overcome while treading their way deep into the 2009 postseason.
"If we play our style of game strong and not take any other team too lightly, we can beat all of the teams in our conference," Strauss said.
The team wants to create an enthusiastic chemistry among a group that adds eight rookies into a system already heavily laden with upperclassmen talent.
"We all work for each other and as long as we keep our goals in mind with what we set in the beginning of the year, those goals will keep pushing us forward and we'll be all set," said Giles.