Men’s soccer improving and has Horizon League tournament on its mind
While the WSU men’s soccer team has a losing record, they are undefeated in conference play and that record is all that matters to the Raiders.
“Our overall record really doesn’t reflect on how well our team performs,” junior Drake Stewart said. “We are dangerous and it just took us a few non-conference games to figure everything out.”
After an injury-plagued non-conference schedule against numerous ranked opponents, the Raiders are currently in position to qualify for the Horizon League tournament with four conference games remaining. Sprinkled within those conference games are matches at Virginia, Ohio State and Bowling Green later this month.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, and it will be nice to put ourselves up against two of the more successful teams in the country,” junior Angelo Capuano said. “But in the end, making the tournament is what we’re aiming for.”
“We’ve still got some work to do,” Head Coach Bryan Davis said. “We just want to get into the conference tournament and advance from there.”
The team is coming off a road victory against Green Bay last week, which the Raiders won 2-1. Derek Zuniga and Brett Elder both scored for the Raiders, who improved to 1-0-1 in Horizon League play.
Zuniga was awarded the Horizon League offensive player of the week for his performance.
“Green Bay did not apply pressure at all and allowed us to build our attack patiently,” Stewart said. “We were very settled the whole game.”
“We just played well in our roles against Green Bay and we were hungry to get our first conference victory of the season,” Capuano said.
Injuries put a damper on the beginning portion of the season for the team, which was picked to finish first in preseason polls. But those injured players are beginning to heal as the Raiders hit the final stretch of the regular season.
“We’re getting healthier as the days go by,” Capuano said. “Guys like (Justin) Laird and Gustav (Svensson) approaching 100 percent is huge for us.”
“Injuries are a factor for everyone,” Davis said. “We’ve got some guys out, but we’ve got other guys stepping up.”
The next home matchup for WSU is a crucial conference meeting with Detroit on homecoming night this Friday. The Titans currently sit atop the Horizon League standings with an unblemished 2-0-0 record.
“The homecoming game is always one you want to circle on the calendar,” Capuano said. “It’s against a team that’s playing well as of late and we’re looking forward to really jumping in the Horizon League standings.
Stewart is confident heading into Friday’s match.
“Homecoming is always such a big game and a big crowd. With that kind of environment, we will be sure to pull off a win,” Stewart said.