UC Soccer on Fire!

Photo by Donovan Dyitt

Article by Adam Denn <addenn@ursinus.edu>

The sun radiated onto Patterson Field last Wednesday night, a beautiful environment for men’s soccer as they took on the Immaculata Mighty Macs. The weather was fitting for an Ursinus soccer team which recently has been the hottest thing in town. The Bears have found themselves lighting up the scoreboards with 18 goals in just 3 games, the same number they scored throughout all 14 games of last season. But what has caused this incredible offensive renaissance? 

It all started on October 19th of last fall. The Bears, 3-7 at the time, faced off against a stout 5-4 Muhlenberg team that would eventually take home the Centennial Conference title. The Bears had faced injuries and hardship throughout the year, but this represented a massive opportunity to put on a showcase for the Centennial Conference. They fell down 2-0 early, seemingly overmatched. But they would rally to turn the game into a 3-3 tie, battling back against a solid squad. Senior Tommy Molliss described the game as a showcase of “what we can do if we’re resilient,” pointing to their ability to battle back despite the early conditions. It is with this confidence that the Bears seemingly approached their offseason, striving to get better every day, but also to come together as an overall team. Coach Daniel Clitnovici pointed to the team’s ability to create “genuine relationships… and actually get to know one another on and off the field” as a crucial piece of the team’s success, ensuring chemistry on the pitch between teammates. Mollis agreed, stating the team has been “much more on the same page” in comparison to last year, making it “easier to get the ball into the attacking third and ultimately score more goals.”

The Bears’ teamwork has certainly translated into success for the Bears on the pitch, as the team has started 3-0 for the first time this decade. A huge piece of this has been the resurgent offense, aided by the breakout season of sophomore Julian Faust. Faust suffered injuries throughout most of his freshman year, but described how he took injury prevention “more seriously” in the offseason to come back even stronger. With three goals against Medgar Evans in the season opener, Faust scored the most individual goals in a game for Ursinus since 1993. He is also the first Bear in two years to earn Centennial Conference Player of the Week, a tremendous honor given for leading the league in goals and assists to that point. “It feels great to be recognized” exclaimed Faust. “Hopefully as a team we’ll continue to have success and other guys can have the same opportunity.” It certainly seems like that could be a serious possibility. Ursinus leads the Centennial Conference in almost all categories to start the season, with Sophomore Collin Deal tied for the conference lead in goals, Senior Harry Lorenc and Freshman Simon Muether leading in assists, and Mollis leading in total points. Coach Clitnovici points to the “free-flowing attacking brand of soccer” which the team has developed as a large reason for all of this offensive success. “We are playing with a much braver mentality” he emphasized, noting that the team “…still has a way to go” but is “approaching this season on their front foot.” This certainly rings true in watching the Bears’ play style. They attack more than anyone in the conference with 83 shots on the goal, striding down the field with an aggressiveness that opponents have simply been unable to match.  As Mollis points out, the Bears are simply “…ready to take on any challenge that’s ahead of us.”

Ursinus’ explosiveness has taken over the Centennial Conference these past few weeks, but challenges still await. They still have yet to face their inter-conference rivals in teams like Gettysburg, Muhlenberg, and Johns Hopkins, as well as strong out-of-conference squads like Haverford College and King’s College. But it’s hard not to be optimistic, and the Bears certainly have their sights set on continued success. “We have a lot of work to get done in order to be better from game to game” pointed out Coach Clitivici, “We will continue to focus on the processes of getting better each and every day.” With both an explosive offense and a steadfast mindset, it’s hard to see this success stopping anytime soon. Be sure to get out and support the team as they continue their season against King’s College this Wednesday, and Go Bears!