Men’s soccer wraps up 2018 season

The Guilford College men’s soccer team may have struggled this season, but they ended on a high note. In their senior night match, they beat Hampden-Sydney College, 2-1, knocking the Tigers out of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament.

In the 2017 season, the Quakers went 2-16 overall. This season they improved to 7-10 but failed to make the ODAC tournament for the second year in a row. They particularly struggled in conference play and went 2-8 in the ODAC. Men’s soccer did well in non-conference matches, finishing the season with a 5-2 record. One of their best non-conference matches was a 4-1 win against Methodist University on Sept. 5.

“As a team, I think we struggled most with just having more composure and being able to read games from the start,” said junior midfielder Ricky Aguilar. “We weren’t mentally focused from the start and it led to poor starts from us in most games.”

Aguilar tied for fourth in the ODAC with five assists. He was also one of the team’s leading scorers, recording three goals this season. First-year forward Victor Jimenez led the team with four goals this season. Overall, the Quakers tallied 25 goals this season, a huge improvement from scoring only 15 goals last season.

“While we created many chances to score goals over the course of the season, we struggled to capitalize on those chances and turn them into actual goals,” said senior midfielder Brayden Currin. “In addition, we tended to make simple mistakes that the opposing teams were able to capitalize on. Defensively, we struggled to deal with set-pieces, like corner kicks and free kicks, from our opponents.”

Aguilar reflected on what the team accomplished this season, even without making it to the ODAC tournament.

“I think staying together and continuing to trust the process was something we did well this season,” said Aguilar.  “A couple of things didn’t go our way this season but it’s soccer, you need luck to go your way sometimes and unfortunately we didn’t have that. But this is only (head coach Cory Speed’s) second year actually being able to implement the type of playing system we want to play, and we feel like this year was another step in the right direction. So, we’re looking forward to next season.”

Unfortunately, for the seniors, there will be no next season. Currin looked back on his four seasons with the Quakers.

“This season is a reflection of my overall career in the sense that I had a ton of fun playing day in and day out with my teammates and embracing the daily grind of being a collegiate athlete,” said Currin. “Soccer has been a large part of my entire life and I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. Over the course of this past season and my career with Guilford men’s soccer, I built relationships and made memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

The Quakers look to take the intensity they had in their last game against Hampden-Sydney to push forward next season.

“Next year I think we are looking to improve finishing our chances on goal, as well as keeping possession of the ball and not forcing passes,” said sophomore defender Tommy Aker.