September 9, 2007

Evan Scheffey Journal #3

Editors Note: This is the third posting in a series of journal entries by Spartan junior men's soccer captain Evan Scheffey. Scheffey was an All-American in 2006 from his defensive position as the Spartans finished the year ranked fifth in the country with a record of 21-0-3.
 
Evan Scheffey's Journal Entry #3 - September 8, 2007

After our scrimmage against Bloomsburg, we had a few more sessions of three-a-days before our play-day on Sunday, August 26. This was our final tune-up against another team before our first official game of the season. We scrimmaged F&M in the earlier part of the day and came out with a 6-2 result. The offense came out strong and got us an early lead that we held onto throughout the game. It was nice to see many of the guys be able to get in and get some minutes against a solid F&M squad. We capped the afternoon off by playing Eastern on what was a rather hot day. It was a hard-fought and physical game, and fatigue from both teams became very evident. The possession went back and forth, but we managed to get a few quality goal scoring opportunities and limited them to 0 shots, which was a positive to take away from that game. The game ended in a scoreless tie. We unfortunately had to see our All-American center mid-fielder, Chris Ports, on the turf in serious pain after twisting his knee. It was tough to see, especially with how hard he worked to get back from a torn ACL. Thankfully he should be returning to the pitch in the near future.

Though we weren’t entirely excited about returning to the grind of classwork, I think we were equally as happy to be finished with three-a-days and getting back to only one training session a day. I think all the boys understood that we had a crucial week of practice ahead of us to prepare for our season opener against Albright. We worked hard throughout the week in practice as the anticipation and excitement of our first game started to show in everyone. We had a nice, relaxing cookout at coach’s house on Friday night before the game just to get everyone together and focused on the task ahead. As Saturday finally arrived, we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather for our season opener. We had a tough game against Albright last year, as it took us an extra overtime period to come away with a 3-2 win. We had a fast start to the game as Andrew Wheeler picked up where he left off last season and got us a goal in the ninth minute. We fed off the quick start and continued to look sharp and maintain much of the possession. Wheeler ended the day with two goals, as we also received two goals courtesy of our center back Mike Whalen, who played well all game long. Our constant offense was our best defense as we didn’t see much action in our defensive end. Jason Yarnall had a dominating performance as he held down the midfield for the majority of the 90 minutes. It was a great game to start the season with because everyone on the roster was able to get some playing time and gain valuable minutes. We also had three players get their first goal as a Spartan, as Jason Mancuso, Javier Perez, and Van Hare all found the back of the net, which was great to see. The game ended in a score of 7-0. There was a tremendous showing from our loyal friends who gave great support in our home opener. We capped off the beautiful day with a picnic of the players and their families.  Our next game would be against Gettysburg.

After a much needed day off, we got back to practice on Monday as we knew our game on Wednesday would be a tough match. The coaches worked with us and gave us all they knew about Gettysburg to have us well-prepared. A 0-0 tie against Gettysburg last season weighed heavily on our minds as we knew they were one of only three blemishes on our schedule from the previous season. It was another gorgeous day for a game and only added to the excitement that was apparent throughout our warm-up. Like the previous game, another early goal from Wheeler set the tone for the rest of us, as he picked up his third goal of the season less than two minutes in. Both teams battled through the rest of the half to see us into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The game was very physical and intense throughout. Jon Ports earned his first goal as a Spartan just a few minutes into the second half on an assist from Wheeler. Jay Mancuso kept the scoring going as he tallied his 2nd goal of the year to put us up 3-0. We got a hard-luck call against us that gave Gettysburg a PK, as their player finished his chance to make the score 3-1. This unfortunately ended a shutout streak that lasted 998 minutes, dating back to last season. It was tough to see the streak end, but was a testament to the pride we take in playing good quality team defense. As the game began to get chippy and saw a few yellow cards being issued, Jay Mancuso settled things down as he notched his 2nd goal of the game off a great pass from Lucas Emil. Charlie Barrett finished the scoring off when he completed a hard-earned penalty kick. The game ended with a score of 5-1 and saw 35 fouls called. It was another building block to help lead us into the weekend, where we will be at the Christopher Newport Tournament squaring off against Kean College on Friday and The College of New Jersey on Saturday.

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