On March 6, the Tyler Junior College Men’s Soccer Team will face St. Edwards on the Pat Hartley Field. This will be the first of four games for the spring.
“We haven’t played in a long time, but we’ve been training hard and have a good attitude going into this game,” Goal Keeper Ben Paneccasio said.
The team ended the fall season with a loss to San Jacinto-South, 0-5 which left their season at 13-3-1.
Ending the season with a loss provides motivation during training.
“They [St.Edwards] are always a good match, being the first game, we want to prove a point,” Paneccaio said.
Paneccaio claims that the Apaches have a friendly rivalry with the Hilltoppers. Since this match is not a conference match, the two schools use it as an opportunity to fine-tune their skills against an opponent.
“This match will help us all get better individually as soccer players,” Center Defender Roger DaCosta said.
Dacosta, a sophomore, is undecided where his soccer career will take him after TJC, but has been visiting many interested colleges. Dacosta does plan on going into this game with his “shirt and pants on.”
“The first two times we played them, they didn’t have as strong of a team as they do now,” Dacosta said.
Dacosta has the most experience against St.Edwards; this will be his fourth time to meet them.
Even though St.Edwards has a stronger team than in previous meetings, Dacosta and Paneccaio understand what it will take to defeat their opponent.
“Good games help you to up your level. You turn your jogs into sprints and work harder against better players,” Dacosta said.
With the majority of the Men’s Soccer Team healthy, there are some that will miss the St.Edwards game due to training injuries. Sam Gordon of New Castle, England, and Sam McIntosh also from New Castle are both out with injuries. Gordon, a goal keeper, has his left hand in a solid camouflage cast due to an injury sustained from practice. McIntosh, the left defender, has an injured knee sustained from weight training.
“I’m looking forward to a month from now when I can get back to practice,” Gordon said.
Gordon is back in the weight room, but not back to practicing with the team.
“I’ll be on the sidelines showing my team support and willing them to victory,” Gordon said.
Gordon will be signing with the University of Miami after this semester. Along with him on the sidelines will be McIntosh.
“After spring break I will be back to 100 percent, but until then I’ll be on the bench supporting my teammates,” McIntosh said.
This game will not determine the season for the Men’s Soccer Team, with key players like McIntosh and Gordon out for the year’s first match, it will only show the strength of the Apaches does not only lie in a few good players.