Christian Zylstra – Staff Writer
Last season did not go as planned for the Dordt Defenders Men’s Soccer team, but this season is already shaping up to be a good one.
Thirteen games into the season, the Defenders are at 8-5, already better than last season’s mark of 5-13-1. This far into the season, the Defenders are already better than last season’s mark of 5-13-1. Life is going much more smoothly in the GPAC as well with the Defenders at ?-?. Even with the good start to the season, don’t expect Dordt to be content with where it is.
That hunger for success and improvement has carried the Defenders to where they are now.
“We’re right where we ought to be,” said Dordt coach Dave Schenk. “We’ve always been a very hard-working team, but that’s not always enough. But, we’ve really developed over the past few weeks. We’ve begun to focus on things in our control. Things are definitely moving in the right direction.”
During the first few games of the season, most of Dordt’s goals came either from penalty kicks or with the ball out wide. That recent technical development has helped Dordt score goals in a number of ways.
“We were too predictable before, but now we have different guys scoring in different ways,” Schenk said. “Tuesday (Oct. 7) was probably our best game possession wise and moving the ball around. We’re creating a lot of opportunities, and variety has been key.”
Despite the hot start for the Defenders, it was not always a smooth ride. After starting off the year 4-0, Dordt lost four straight matches, including an overtime and double-overtime loss. But through preparation and hard work, the Defenders are back on track.
“We have a great coaching staff,” said senior Ryan Postma. “They prepare us well for all of our games and do a great job scouting our opponent.”
“Our goal is to finish in the top-half of the GPAC and host a quarterfinal,” Schenk said. “Obviously, we’d love to reach the semis and with our potential, we could even reach the finals.”
If the Defenders want to finish well in the GPAC and make a deep run in the conference tournament, the goalkeeping will be key.
“Clean sheets are going to be very important in the playoffs,” Schenk said. We are 00 games in and we still don’t have a clean sheet.”
Even without a clean sheet on the season, the Defenders had plenty of good results. If the team can keep up their mantra of “Do Work” throughout the season, it has a great chance of doing something very special in the GPAC tournament in November.