Men’s Soccer Team Earns Historic Victory

The Virginia Peninsula Community College men’s soccer team earned its first win in program history with an emphatic 9-2 victory at Mid-Atlantic Christian on Sept. 2.

The Gators began their intercollegiate men’s soccer program this year, losing their first two games before posting the victory over the Mustangs.

“We needed a positive game that gave us a bit more time on the ball to rehearse and further develop our system of play,” said coach Kevin Darcy. “Our opening matches against two very good opponents in Southern Maryland and Anne Arrundel were difficult as we weren’t ready for the speed and physicality of the college game.

“This match helped build confidence in our players and motivate them.”

Midfielder Jacob Logan led the way on offense for the Gators with three goals. Forwards Christian Zeleya and Cannon Newell added two apiece, and defender Brian Lopez and midfielder Abdullah Ahwala each scored one.

Darcy benefited from the big victory, also.

“It was great to be able to look at players in different roles and I am still learning a lot about our player pool and what system fits us the best,” he said. “I like our group and am confident we will be very competitive as the season goes on.”

Darcy knows building a program from scratch will have its challenges; that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

So, when the Gators opened Aug. 27 with a 6-0 loss to the College of Southern Maryland at Wanner Stadium in Williamsburg, he looked at the positives.

“We stayed in it,” Darcy said. “The second half we changed formations. We controlled a little bit more of the middle.”

They had many scoring chances, which was important.

“We built some things forward in the second half,” he said.

In the team’s second game, Aug. 31 at Anne Arrundel Community College, the Gators lost 7-2. Newell scored the first goal in program history to give VPCC a 1-0 lead, but the Gators trailed 3-2 at the half, with their second goal coming from Logan. Darcy said turnovers in the second half were the difference.

Two days after their historic victory, the Gators lost 12-0 at Cape Fear Community College to drop to 1-3 on the season.

“It was the perfect storm of things going south,” he said, including it being the team’s third road game in six days. “We’ll get better.”

Again, giveaways in the defensive half of the field proved costly.

“That’s how it goes at the higher level. You get punished for mistakes … and rightly so,” he said.

The Gators already have come a long way since starting preseason practice Aug. 2 with five players. In the opening-day loss, Darcy dressed 17 players. In addition to becoming more physical, the team needs to be more cohesive, the coach said. With a young and new team, that will take time to develop.

“Now we can organize what we need to do, what we think we need to do,” he said.

Darcy has lined up three scrimmages before the next match, which is scheduled for Sept. 23 at the College of Southern Maryland. The break comes at a good time.

“We really need to just play where we have time to work on our system in practice,” Darcy said.

Their schedule is tough the rest of the way.

“All these teams are going to be really good,” he said.

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