This archived article was written by: Austin Fietkau
Utah State University Eastern’s soccer season came to a close last weekend after both the men’s and women’s team lost in their region semi-final game. “Obviously we [wanted] to take our team to nationals,” said sophomore captain Chandler Fietkau, “but we’ll just have to try harder next year.”
The region tournament took place Oct. 28-29, and hosted by Snow College. It consisted of three games: two semi-final matches and a final match. The Eagles faced-off against College of Southern Nevada to start the tournament. The game ended 3-0 for CSN, a devastating loss for USUE in a single-elimination tournament and for any team with hopes of making it to the national tournament.
There was no post-game instruction as there often is from coaches Ammon Bennett and Jared Woodhouse. After the game, players were instructed only to make sure they had all of their gear, and “speed training will start in the spring.”
Salt Lake Community College went on to lose their semi-final game to the Badgers of Snow College. The following day, Saturday, Oct. 29, SC and CSN battled for the region title. Both teams exchanged multiple goals, but CSN took the game 5-3. The Coyotes will first need to win the district tournament in Wyoming before traveling to Texas for their shot at the national title.
The Eagles carried a record of 8-6-3 this year, “an overall successful season,” Fietkau said. “We had a rough start trying to find the right formation for our team and where each player would be of most value,” he said, “but we figured it out.”
Team captains Kenneth Marse and Fietkau considered this season to be beneficial as a players, as they were able to practice leadership skills and adapt to different styles of the game by playing with so many international players.
While it was agreed upon by many returning players that this year’s team was “more united” than last year, Fietkau and Woodhouse both agreed that they also “struggled to give 100 percent,” both in games and in training sessions throughout the season. “We [gave] it at times, but it needs to be more consistent.”
With the season now over, Eagle players have the next couple of months free from mandatory training sessions. But for many of them, these few months will not be a vacation. Already, many of the players have begun their off season training, spending time in the gym to “bulk-up” and get stronger for next year.