Crasilneck helps fuel Cats’ fast start

The start of the 2008 season compared with that of the previous two seasons are as different as night and day for senior midfielder Jordan Crasilneck and the men’s soccer team.

The Cats started last season 4-9-0 and through 13 games Crasilneck had yet to notch a point. Many struggles can be attributed to the lack of energy and support from the bench, Crasilneck said.

“This year we have a bunch of young guys that are playing,” Crasilneck said. “Last year in the overtime games we’d play, we wouldn’t be getting results.”

Last season, UVM lost three of their first four overtime games. Thus far in 2008, the Catamounts have already recorded three overtime games, including two that went into double overtime and none of which resulted in losses.

This season the younger players have played a large role, Crasilneck said, while the upperclassmen are doing what they can to show the newcomers the ropes of D1 soccer.

“They are stepping it up and bringing energy” CrasilÂneck said. “We upperclassman are trying our best to help them out however we can.”

Not only has there been improvement on the field, the team has coalesced off the field as well.

“I think we’re preparing better off the field: eating right, sleeping right, doing the right things, which is really going to help us,” Crasilneck said. “Success doesn’t always just happen on the field, it’s what happens off the field.”

Crasilneck has stepped it up as well this season, matching his 2007 point total in the first four games of the seaÂson. One of those points came on a 25-yard high goal that ended up being the deciding point in the game against Michigan State, which the Cats won 2-1.

The improvement in Crasilneck’s play comes from the realization that this is his final season as a Catamount and it’s all or nothing from this point forward.

“When you’re going into your senior season, you start to get a different mentality that this could be your last year.” he said. “You start to go in with a ‘never lose’ mentality, which you should be going through all four years with.”

On top of that, Crasilneck said that he is working harder than ever and his efforts are showing on the field. “I’m working a lot harder now and the hardest part is to maintain.”

Goals have come quickly from the Cat’s veteran front line this season, and now an emphasis is focused on keeping up the momentum. Crasilneck said maintaining the production up front on offense is crucial to ease the pressure on the defensive lines and smooth out the kinks and attempt to create a rhythm as a unit, providing more opportunities to test the stability of the team.

“We’re just going to keep testing ourselves.”

This year, the team’s mentality is much more positive, leading to a greatly improved start – but with superior results comes added pressure. The America East coaches’ preseason poll named Vermont at the top spot, making the Cats the team to beat.

“It does put a little target on our back,” Crasilneck said, “but we’ve had that before and I think we know how to deal with it.”