Two rough losses show men’s soccer’s mettle

 

As we escaped the torrential downpour in Queens, the beautiful 75-degree weather welcomed us in Tampa Bay on Oct. 15.

Despite midterms looming, combined with the lack of time to study, everyone was focused on the task at hand: stealing first place in the Big East Red Division from South Florida.

The humidity that had long since left New York warmed the evening air in USF, perhaps, lulling us to sleep. Only about 10 minutes of the full 90 did St. John’s soccer look like the No. 3 team in the country.

The sluggish demeanor of our team didn’t wear off as USF ran through us and by us, capturing the 1-0 victory. When the final whistle blew, the USF bench stormed on the field as the crowd chanted like they had won the national championship.

Four nights later, we found ourselves on our home pitch down 2-1 to Hartwick, down one man, with the waning seconds ticking off the clock. The dedicated fans that came to support us left scratching their heads in wonderment and disappointment.

It is these moments of hardship that defines a teams’ character and true ability. The losses to USF and to Hartwick left two huge blemishes on our record. The loss to Hartwick left an especially bitter taste in our mouths as we strode away from the field knowing we ruined the tradition that came before us.

This was the first ever regular season loss at Belson Stadium.

To make matters worse, we knew we out played them all around. The game of soccer is a cruel one where more, than in any other sport, the team that plays the better game does not always win.

These two losses mixed in with the continuing stress of midterms (and lack of time to study) made for a week of contempt.

As we worked on our busy schedules and caught up with school, the lingering results of the past week stood firm in our minds.

Missing half my classes over the past few weeks only added to my clouded mind. We knew, however, come Saturday night everything had to be clear, as it would be the game either to derail our season or help us salvage it.

On Saturday night, it was DePaul who stood in our way of getting the season back in order. Although it took 83 minutes to put them away, our perseverance paid off with a deserved victory.

Our victory and South Florida’s loss to Rutgers breathes new life into our season, revitalizing our chances for a Big East crown. With our game on Wednesday night at Villanova, we can continue to prove our strength of character through adversity and forward our chances of stealing back first place in the Big East.