As the regular season draws to an end, the stakes have increased and everything is up for grabs for the Richland men’s soccer team.
Ranked No.1 in the country at press time, the Thunderducks have a record of 10 wins, one draw and two losses.
The first loss came against Mount San Antonio College, California. It was a pulsating game. You could sense the tension of the fans with every tackle and goal opportunity. Unfortunately for Richland, Mount San Antonio snuck a win in during the dying minutes of extra-time. The match against Western Texas ended in a stalemate and the second loss came against San Jacinto College, Houston. Richland lost 2-1.
Head coach Sean Worley believes there’s nothing to worry about heading into a critical time of the season. He said the team was a bit unlucky and should have tied the games that they lost.
“It has been a very brutal schedule with top teams but we came out of it all right. To play that many games in such [a] short time is very challenging,” he said. They played four games in two-to-three-day intervals.
Worley is adamant that his team is not going through a rough patch. He said they’re focused on the task ahead and the draw and losses are “going to prepare us to be a better team.” Worley believes today’s (Oct. 17) game against Mountain View is the most important game. “We’ve got to beat Mountain View in order to win our region,” Worley said.
If Richland wins the game against Mountain View today, they’ll qualify for the District tournament. They will play the teams that qualify from Region 4 and 13 in the District tournament and then the overall winner will advance to play in the national championship. But if they come out of the game with anything other than a win, they will have to replay the game with Mountain View to decide who advances to the next round. Worley is confident that his team is well prepared for the task ahead.
The Thunderducks currently average three goals per game. James Sasay, Richland sophomore, so far has notched 15 goals to lead the goal scoring chart for the Thunderducks. This is more impressive given that this is his first collegiate season and that he didn’t play in three games.
Sasay was recruited to fill the void that Sergio Lara (last season’s top scorer) left, and he has been relentless in front of goal, scoring goal after goal with great aplomb.
Also in good form is Joshua Peloquin, sophomore. So far this season he has contributed eight goals, three more than he managed the whole of last season. Worley believes Peloquin’s experience from his freshman season has been invaluable and helped him acclimate to the pressure of the game this year. Worley said once Sasay fully adjusts to the college game we can expect much more from him.