Men’s soccer is looking to finish the season strong


Sophomore forward Zac Lloyd is proving to be an offensive force for the Pacers. Photo courtesy of Marywood Athletics

Brendan Murphy, Contributor

As the Marywood men’s soccer team heads into a crucial part of its season, few echoes of last season remain. The team began this year coming off an 8-9 2017 season which saw it fall to Neumann University in the first round of the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) tournament.

This season, the team moved from the CSAC to the brand new Atlantic East Conference. The Pacers joined former CSAC schools Cabrini University, Immaculata University, Gwynedd Mercy University and Neumann University, as well as newcomers Marymount University and Wesley College in the Atlantic East.

The Pacers are under the new leadership of Head Coach John Velasco. Although it’s been a rough start, Velasco said he believes in his team.

He said he understands that there will be growing pains and bumps in the road, but the team is getting better every day. The players understand his expectations and are learning from every failure in order to get better and grow as a team, Velasco added.

Velasco described his philosophy with two words: consistency and belief. The team has gotten better and more consistent, and they are beginning to believe in the process. They all know that even if this isn’t the year for them, they can use this year to get better and work towards a conference title next season, the coach said.

The Pacers most consistent offensive player is sophomore forward Zac Lloyd, who leads the team in goals scored (six) and points (13). Lloyd has stepped up to become a leader on this young Pacers squad and is looking to make a move toward the postseason. That leadership will help the young Pacers squad looking to make a playoff move.

Lloyd said he worked hard on his game in the offseason and it has shown in his on-field performance. “Mostly just getting touches on the ball,” Lloyd said. “Shooting, doing the simple stuff to make my game better.”

The transition to the new regime has been tough for the players, but they respect Coach Velasco and his system.

“He’s definitely a very professional guy,” Lloyd said about his new coach. “He likes things to be organized and he works us hard. It should be a great thing for our program.”

The team is 1-10-1 with an 0-3-1 record in Atlantic East play. There are still a few games left and the team appears to be near turning a corner. The team is getting more consistent, but is still having trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. “We’ve got to start scoring,” Lloyd said. “We’re doing pretty well and now we just have to work on getting the ball in the net and putting up numbers.”

The Pacers playoff hopes are still alive, but the team has a tough road ahead. Nothing is impossible and the team believes that, Velasco said. The Pacers play Marymount and Neumann down the stretch. They’re looking to end the season on a high note and give themselves something to build on going forward.

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