Editors Note: This is the fourth 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.
The Friday morning following our win over Gettysburg, we
departed for Newport News, VA where we would take on Kean
University and The College of New Jersey in the Christopher Newport
University Tournament. The morning started off on a depressing note
when we found out that our coach bus didn’t have any sound to
the dvd player, so we’d have to find other ways to pass the
time on the five hour trip. We slept and listened to music to try
and bypass the hours until we reached the field and began preparing
for our first game, which was against Kean University.
The game began with both teams trying to feel each other out and gain some possession. Unfortunately for us, we looked a bit sluggish and couldn’t seem to establish any flow to our play. The first half went back and forth and saw the scoreboard read 0-0 going into halftime. Thankfully the start to the second half was much more productive than the first half as we got on the board with a goal from Wheels less than a minute in. From that point on the game became very interesting as their goalie was red-carded for taking down Jay Mancuso on a break-away. Just a few short minutes after their first red card, they were given another red card and Matt Beale was taken out. For the next 20 minutes we pushed to try to add a few more goals while they were two men down the rest of the game. The game took another sudden turn as they were given a PK with 12 minutes left on a questionable call, but their player finished his chance and tied the game at 1-1. With just under 2 minutes left, Jon Ports calmly finished a break-away chance by chipping the goalie to seal the win. Wheels put the nail in the coffin 20 seconds later when he get a through ball from Jay Mancuso and added a third goal. Although it wasn’t our best game of the season, we found a way to get the win behind the solid goalkeeping of Kyle Marks.
We relaxed the rest of the night at the hotel and had a delicious spaghetti dinner at a nearby restaurant. Saturday morning we had a light stretch and relaxed in our rooms as we prepared to take on a solid TCNJ team later in the day. The first half against TCNJ was very similar to the first half against Kean, as neither team found a hold on the game. The score was again 0-0 going into the half. We came out a very inspired group and gained some much needed possession early in the half. The scoring started when Kurt Lane beat three defenders and cut across the top of the box as he slotted the ball into the back of the net. Kurt had a tremendous game as he played very well both offensively and defensively. As we saw the momentum start shifting our way, Wheels played a great ball to Jon who put us up 2-0. A mere 14 seconds later, Wheels continued the scoring as he collected a poor clear and finished off the chance to make it 3-0. Mike Whalen, Matt Beale, Jay Yarnell, and Kyle Marks all played well in the defensive third to secure the shutout. The game finished with a score of 3-0, as many of the young guys were able to get into the game and see some minutes. We got some pizza before boarding the bus for truly what would be a ride to remember. As everyone was flying high from winning the CNU tournament for the third consecutive year, no one was in the mood to sleep on the bus trip back to school. Because of the lack of entertainment from the broken dvd player, we knew we’d have to create our own amusement to pass the time. For 2 straight hours we found ourselves singing a wide variety of songs, ranging from 99 bottles of “root beer” on the wall to hearing Brian Carr do an a cappella session of songs from an assortment of Disney movies. It was definitely a memorable trip as we shared many laughs throughout the five hour trip home.
After a relaxing day off, we returned to the pitch for a few days of practice before we’d take on Arcadia in our next game. Last year, Arcadia gave us a very challenging game as it took us until overtime to win 2-1. On what was yet another beautiful afternoon for a soccer game, we started the game with some quality possession but were held off the scoreboard as the dropped nine and ten guys behind the ball. Jon Ports got the scoring started as he finished his chance in the 27th minute. Three minutes later, Jay Mancuso got on the board as he received a ball from Jon and buried it near post. Mancuso later added another goal for himself as he lofted a perfectly placed chip back post and made it 3-0. Center back Mike Whalen continued his scoring ways as he headed home a great cross from Justin Suchoski to make it 4-0. Mike O’Connell finished off the scoring as he headed home a loose ball to end the game with a final score of 5-0. It was again nice to be able to get most of the guys on the team into the game to get some significant playing time.
I would like end this entry by taking a minute to give a big thank you to all the athletic trainers here at the college. Between Nate, Jenn, Autumn, and Allison, they do more for us athletes and put in more time than we can ever imagine. Whether it is an early morning during pre-season, or a late night after a basketball game, they do so much that goes unnoticed. It is often something taken for granted, just how lucky we are to have a great training staff to keep us healthy and help us through ever step of rehabilitation. I know that after seeing them have to deal with my infected ingrown toenail, that it’s all the little things they do that end up making a big difference in keeping us on the field or on the court. Finally, I just want to give a special thanks to Allison Kunkel, our soccer trainer, as she continues to be the best athletic trainer we could ever ask for.