As students return to campus, men’s soccer action returns to Virtue Field.
The Catamounts are ambitious for this year, following an America East regular season championship in head coach Rob Dow’s first season.
“The spring semester offseason was awesome,” Dow said.
The guys focused on completing and winning the big games and maintaining a high level of play, he said.
Dow said that the 10 newcomers bring a lot of talent and fit well with the team’s culture.
“They’ve strengthened our squad,” Dow said. “They’ve done a nice job understanding the culture and philosophy of the team and the values that we stress.”
One of the team’s captains, senior midfielder Mikel Kabala, praised the existing culture for helping the new players adjust quickly.
“We’re regular guys just trying to have fun playing a game,” Kabala said. “We don’t have to try as hard to make them comfortable because of the existing environment.”
Two players Dow has his eye on this season are senior forward Geo Alves and sophomore midfielder Daði Halldórsson, among others, he said.
“I feel like this is the best UVM team I’ve played with,” junior midfielder Barðdal said. “We have a similar team as last year, but we have a couple of new players that have improved the team.”
Vermont started the season playing the John Rennie Nike Invitational in Durham, North Carolina Aug. 24. The Cats played a game against Elon University and another against Duke University, UVM athletics stated.
The Elon match started with junior goalkeeper Aron Runarsson flagged with a red card. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Clay Thomas played the remaining 70 minutes, his second collegiate appearance, according to UVM athletics.
They won 2-0.
The next game, the Cats played nationally-ranked Duke, who led Vermont twice during regulation. Alves scored two goals, forcing overtime. During overtime, the Cats lost 3-2, according to UVM athletics.
“What I learned is that our guys will fight to the end,” Kabala said.
UVM won their first home game Aug. 31. They defeated Northeastern 2-1 in overtime goals by senior forwards Justin Freitas and Trevor Colazzo.