Men’s soccer looks to get over the CSAC championship hurdle with defensive skill

Photo courtesty of Jim O'Connor / NJ Sport Pics

Photo courtesty of Jim O’Connor / NJ Sport Pics

John Ferraro, Sports Editor

The men’s soccer team has been in the championship conversation for years, but they haven’t cleared the final hurdle.

The Pacers made it to the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Final five out of the last six seasons, but Coach Dawson Driscoll’s squad hasn’t yet claimed the prize.

Driscoll is running out of answers, “I really don’t know. If I knew, we would have won one of them. I think it’s just about getting there. Once you get there, you focus on the present and not the past,” said Driscoll.

Driscoll, entering his 11th season as men’s soccer head coach, successfully turned the program around after only a few seasons with the team.

Before Driscoll’s arrival, the men’s soccer program never had a winning season or a full-time head coach. In just his third season, the team qualified for the conference playoffs.

Driscoll made the team a consistent powerhouse in the conference and put Marywood men’s soccer on the map. The next step, he said, is bringing that elusive championship home.

Driscoll thinks he can do that with new senior leadership and a strong defensive game plan. A player who embodies both is Zach Oster, a graduate architecture student.

Oster, who did not play his junior season due to an injury, has twice been a First Team All-Conference player. “He’s the anchor of our defense,” said Driscoll.

Another player to watch is midfielder Matthew Hull, a senior management major. Hull was second on the team in both goals (6) and points (13) last season.

Driscoll is also looking to Dylan McMahon, a junior business management major, to make scoring contributions. “We lost our main goal scorer (Daniel Hull) last year, so we are looking for him (McMahon) to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The team is looking for contributions from a new face to the Pacer midfield this season. Alex Buchholz, a junior exercise science major, transferred from Keystone over the summer. “He’s a new player that we hope can win us some games,” said Driscoll.

Assistant coach Ethan Patrick points to starting goalkeeper Patrick Brogan, a senior business management major, as one of the key players going forward.
“He’s a first-time captain who has been unifying the team. He’s a good example for a lot of the new guys coming in,” said Patrick.

According to Patrick, Brogan and the other seniors helped the team even before the season opener. “All of the seniors have really stepped up in terms of their work ethic, togetherness for the team, confidence, and pushing each other.”

The Pacers are ranked third in the CSAC preseason poll behind defending champions Cabrini University and Neumann University.

Driscoll endorsed Cabrini’s ranking as the top team in the conference. Cabrini beat the Pacers in the CSAC Final last season. “They didn’t lose anybody to graduation. They are a very good squad and the team to beat this year,” said Driscoll.

The team begins the 2016 campaign with a home game this Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. against Arcadia University before playing Wilkes University at home on Sunday.

Check back with The Wood Wood for coverage of the Pacers’ home games this season.

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