The Emory Men’s soccer team is no stranger to the competitiveness of UAA play.
Describing UAA men’s soccer is as simple as looking back at last year’s conference co-champions–all four of them. In Division III athletics it’s a well known fact that the UAA is a highly competitive conference, and a four-way tie last year with identical 4-2-1 records between Emory University, Washington University in St Louis, Carnegie Mellon University and Brandeis University simply speaks to the credibility and difficulty of the conference.
It’s also no hidden detail that the Eagles have had a few tough losses so far this year, and they stand with a 7-3-0 record after losing three of their regional matches. After frustrating losses at home to Berry College and Centre College in September, the squad resolved to change their own luck.
On September 25th the Emory men trounced Birmingham Southern at home with a decisive 4-2 decision, and just a few days later answered again with a 1-0 victory against Millsaps College during Emory’s Homecoming Weekend.
With two competitive teams defeated, the Eagles are feeling much more confident entering into UAA play. Junior Jeff Cochran, who holds four assists so far this season, says that the losses have only spurred them to work harder and become stronger.
“We have had several tough losses this year. All three games were very close but we couldn’t pull them off. We lost because at times we had a lack of focus and had some mental lapses. I also think that we missed several opportunities in each of those games. However, those losses have only increased our focus,” said Cochran.
Taking on No. 15 ranked Washington University will definitely take all of their focus and confidence. The value of upperclass leadership combined with the strong freshman class has the entire squad excited to head into conference play, said freshman goal-scorer Jason Andrejchak. While nerves and pressure to perform will play a large factor in this Sunday’s upcoming match, he thinks they’re ready.
“The only way we can really handle this pressure is by showing up to the game and playing as hard and well as we can for 90 minutes,” said Andrejchak.
The Eagles are set for kick-off at the Woodruff P.E. Center at Emory University against Washington University at 11:00 am on Sunday.