The NEC men’s soccer team finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 7-8-4, a conference record of 3-2-3, and a close 2-1 semi-final loss to Newbury College.
“Our expectation is always to put ourselves in a position to be successful every time we take the field against an opponent,” said head coach David DeCew. “If we prepare appropriately and stick together as a group, we always feel we can potentially be in a position to compete for a championship.”
The Pilgrims started the season going 1-2-1 through four non-conference games, but started NECC play with a 1-0 with over Dean College.
“The team’s expectations coming into the season were high,” said junior defensemen Chris Morse. “We were entering a new conference, seeing some new opposition, and we wanted to prove that we were a team that could compete.”
At the conclusion of the regular season the Pilgrims picked up two much needed conference wins against Becker and Lesley.
“The high of the season was definitely the final few games,” said junior defensemen Ryder Valinski. “We improved throughout the year finally scoring multiple goals on opponents that we knew we could beat.”
Coach DeCew was pleased with the positives that the team can take from this season.
“It was great to see a lot of our players step up to make great contributions,” said Coach DeCew. “In particular, to see Nate Sprackland as a senior play such a key role down the stretch was great, and also Jackson Easter made all-conference after a really horrific injury as a freshman. Those are just a couple of examples, we had a lot of very positive individual moments.”
Coach DeCew also praised the freshmen crew that at times started games for the Pilgrims. The coaching staff is, “really excited to see them work this off-season and see if they can take their skills to a new level.”
After reaching the semi-final in their inaugural NECC season, the Pilgrims are looking forward to coming out strong in 2019.
“Looking towards next year we hope to build on the collective unity of a team,” said Valinski. “We hope to adopt the “one for all and all for one” mindset and play for the guys next to us not for ourselves.”
Junior midfielder Kyle Clements echoed the same sentiment as Valinski, “I think we need to work on overall work rate on and off the ball, we need to trust ourselves to create good chemistry and move the ball without thinking too much.”
Clements noted the team “has the talent” but needs to maintain “composure” on the field.
“[I] really enjoyed the compete level of the team,” said Coach DeCew, “we didn’t seem to get too many breaks this season, but the future looks bright! Big thanks to the graduating seniors!”