The UVM men’s soccer team enters this season with expectations at an all-time high, but head coach Jesse Cormier won’t let lofty prospects affect his team.
“There are some heady expectations outside the program, but internally we’re focused more on playing well and looking at how we play and looking game to game,” Cormier said.
“Obviously we would like to improve on last year and we would like to go further, but we try to be kind of humble and just focus on each training session and be kind of day-to-day and have a productive year.”
The team that captured their fourth America East title last year has been picked to finish in first once again this season in the conferences preseason poll.
While the players understand the pressure that comes with high expectations, veterans like Senior goalkeeper Roger Scully try to keep a level head.
“Our expectations are high because we had some success last year but right now we are taking it one game at a time,” Scully said.
Much of last year’s success was thanks to a defense that was one of the stingiest in the country, allowing just three goals in 10 conference games and ranked in the top 30 in the country in team defense.
The team’s defense this season will be anchored by the three senior backs team-including team captain Jake McFadden, Will Haywood and Connor Tobin-who will line up in front of Scully.
“Those three guys mean the world. I love those guys. I think we definitely can improve on last year and if we don’t improve it would be a big disappointment and I think the key this year is to get started right away,” Scully said.
Inconsistency was one issue that plagued this team last year when they started just 4-9. Cormier and his players are focused this season on getting off to a smoother start.
“Last year we started slowly and we don’t want to start slowly this year,” Cormier said. “We want to go into this year with a more positive attack-minded approach and address some of the issues in terms of goal productivity and have our defending group gel a little more earlier.”
McFadden added, “We are looking to build on the success we had at the end of last season, making a run into the NCAA tournament. Mostly this year we are trying to be a little more consistent than we were last year.”