Leathernecks battle through preseason

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Leathernecks battle through preseason

Garrick Hodge

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The Leathernecks’ men’s soccer team is looking forward to a promising year, and their performance in two season-opening exhibition games did nothing to detract from that goal.

Western dropped the first game on Saturday to Graceland 4-0, then defeated Quincy 1-0 on Monday. Both games were hosted by the Leathernecks.

Junior forward Nathan Bruinsma scored the only goal of the contest against Quincy. Western outshot Quincy 12-11, with both teams stopping a total of six shots. Freshman goalie Andre Nichols played well, recording six saves to earn the shutout.

While the victory against Quincy showed promise, coach Eric Johnson noted that there are many areas for concern.

“We’re trying out a couple different players at a couple of different positions, and overall we have had a lot of inconsistency,” Johnson said. “I would like to see our team strive for a more consistent performance each game to increase our overall performance.”

The Leathernecks may experience some growing pains this season, as they have 12 new players added to their roster this season. Johnson also noticed that some of his players seemed fatigued in the second half of both games, adding, “We are currently not in the shape we need to be, we must work on our physical fitness for our ability to complete a full game.”

While Johnson notices many concerns going into the season, he still remains fairly optimistic about the team’s chances for the upcoming season.

“Our goal every season is to qualify for the league tournament, and to eventually compete for the league championship, which I find to be a fairly reasonable goal,” the Leathernecks coach said.

Johnson added that his club has a ways to go, and that they need to take it game by game to make the adjustments needed.

Western opens up the regular season on the road at University of Wisconsin-Madison at 7:30 p.m.. Saturday night. The Leathernecks are familiar with the Badgers, as they played them last spring, winning by a score of 1-0. It is the opening regular-season game for both teams.

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