By ANDREW OLSON – CENTO WRITER
The Colonels Men’s soccer team that posted a 15-4-3 record, finished tied for first place in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), and defeated 2011 champions Ohio Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year plans to improve even further on these accomplishments this season.
Already eight games in, the Colonels are 5-1-2, recently winning 2-1 over the No. 25 ranked team, Emory.
The key player in previous years was forward Ryan Garvey, a 2013 graduate who now holds school records such as single-season goals (21), single-season points (46), and career goals (41).
With Garvey no longer on the team, players have stepped into larger roles and taken on greater responsibility.
Cameron Miller, a junior forward from Nicholasville, KY, leads the team so far in scoring with four goals over the course of six games. Miller was second on the team last year in goals, trailing only to Garvey.
“I’ve had to adapt to becoming the leader of the offense,” Miller said when asked his thoughts on filling Garvey’s previous role. Miller admitted to feeling pressure about having to replace Garvey.
Even so, he is extremely optimistic about this year’s season. “We have already gotten some tough games out of the way, and with our remaining schedule, we expect to have more wins than last year. We should be at the top of our conference again this year,” Miller said.
On the other side of the field, Robbe Tarver, senior defender from Houston, TX, leads a strong Colonels defense that has given up only five goals this season.
Tarver was the SAA Defensive Player of the Week during the second week of play, with two assists in games played through Sept. 8. Tarver won the award twice during the 2012 season.
“The emphasis of our team will be a little bit different this year – instead of relying on Ryan to score, we will rely more on our defense,” Tarver said.
Tarver, along with the rest of the Colonel Men’s soccer team, has big plans for the team this season.
“Experiences from going to the NCAA tournament last year will help us make it there again this year. We’ve been there before and we know what to do and how to do it, so hopefully we can replicate what we did last year and compete,” Tarver said.
Along with those returning to the team this year, younger players are also earning playing time.
“There are four to five first-years getting minutes and making an impact this year,” Tarver said.
Jacob Winkler, first-year forward from Danville, KY, has gotten minutes in every game so far, and has scored one goal in only three attempts, two of which were on goal. These statistics give the first-year the highest shooting percentage on the team.
Behind every great team is a strong fan base, and many Centre students attend home soccer matches and to show their support.
One first-year in particular voiced his enthusiasm about the Colonels soccer team.
“I haven’t been to a soccer game yet, but I plan on attending some games because soccer is awesome. I know how it feels to perform without your school there supporting you,” a first-year member of the Swimming and Diving team, Patrick Wells said. “It’s easier to be at your best with people cheering you on.”
The team will host Spalding on Sept. 25 with the start time slated for 7:00 p.m.
The Colonles will open SAA play Oct. 5 in Atlanta against Berry, the match is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.