Men’s soccer concludes best season in recent history

The men’s soccer team recently wrapped up their season. As a whole, this was one of Guilford’s more successful seasons in recent history.

“We took a huge leap from the past three years as we finally hit our stride in conference. Winning the first five games out of six putting us in an ideal position for the ODAC tournament,” said senior Enrique Gudino. “After achieving our main goal of making the conference tournament, we became hungry for more and prepared for the hardest run of games of the season.”

Furthermore, the Quakers earned their highest ODAC tournament placement since 2012, which has them placed as the sixth seed in the tournament. The Quakers also earned their most league wins since 2012 and could return as many as 22 players next fall.

“I think that the season went fairly good,” said senior midfielder Ricky Aguilar. “We accomplished one of the goals that we set before the season started, which was to make the ODAC conference tournament. We were ranked 12 out of the 13 teams in the ODAC in the preseason poll, so ending in sixth place was huge for us and the program moving forward.”

The team ended with a 7-9-1 record for the year and posted a 5-3 record in conference play. This also marked the final for the team’s seven seniors, including Aguilar who scored 67 points in 69 matches, the sixth-most in Guilford College history.  

“I think I can speak for my senior class that we feel we have left this program in a much better state than it was our first year,” Aguilar said. “Coach has done a great job recruiting and helping us believe in the process. It’s exciting to see how good the Guilford men’s soccer team can be in the following years to come.”

Gudino was named on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) NCAA Division III Academic All-District V Team, the organization announced Thursday. He is Guilford’s first men’s soccer Academic All-District honoree since Brett Ralls ‘05 was so honored in 2004.

First-year Kennedy Nzekwe had a phenomenal first campaign; his 25 points came on 12 goals and one assist. His goal tally topped the Old Dominion Athletic Conference at the end of the regular season.

“I had so much fun playing for Guilford College and for Cory Speed, my coach,” said Nzekwe. “He made playing so much more than I expected, and so did my teammates.”

Zach Van Kampen took the majority of the time in net for the Quakers. Although he battled injury during the season, he appeared in 11 of 17 games for the team.

Van Kampen earned 1.89 goals allowed per game and amassed 44 saves with a .698 save percentage. In total he had a 6-4 record and recorded one shutout.

“I am optimistic about the future of the team as it has massive potential paired with a unique coaching staff,” Gudino stated. “The team can only go forward from now.”

“I felt like as a team, we were able to accomplish a lot of goals, which speaks volumes to how invested we were in the process,” Nzekwe said.  “I really enjoyed playing and wished we had gone further than we did, but I am glad to have gotten to play and contribute as much as I did.”

 

Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 6 of The Guilfordian on Nov. 15 2019.

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