They were confident and fit. They expected a decisive victory against an inexperienced foe on home turf. But less than three minutes into the men's soccer home opener against Regis College, their expectations were shattered when Regis struck first with a confidence-shaking goal.
"I think it stunned us for sure," said team Captain Casey Shane "Against a team of this [low] caliber, definitely stunned us."
Though the Lions eventually pulled ahead of the two-year-old Regis team winning the game 4-2, Regis' early goal was enough to jangle their nerves.
"It really changed the tempo of the game," said Head Coach Jared Scarpaci. "I think it's why we couldn't do better against them-we couldn't shake the first two minutes."
Despite a brief struggle against Regis, Scarpaci feels his team's young talent is quite competent. He said he has been particularly happy with the performance of his freshmen.
The game could have ended quite differently if not for the on-field heroics of junior Eric Dabdoub, who scored three of the Lions' four goals. Scarpaci said Dabdoub is integral to his team's success.
"He's a returning second-team All-GNAC player," he said. "He's living up to his awards last year. He's a good player; he's a contributor."
Shane has high hopes for his team's fortunes this year. He's looking to rebound from a tough loss in the first round of the GNAC playoffs, maybe with a deeper tournament run.
"I think we definitely want to win the GNAC [tournament]," the broadcast journalism and acting double major said, "Win a championship, bring something home for Emerson."