Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Viking Men’s Soccer Opens Up Conference Play

Players lining up and paying respect to the national anthem before the start of the game (Augustana vs. Knox) on Tuesday, Sept 24.

The Augustana men’s soccer team began their conference season on the road this past weekend versus North Park University. The Augustana Vikings fell to the North Park Vikings for the fifth straight time.
However the game was different than previous years as Augustana took North Park into the second half trailing by a goal before North Park finished Augustana off with a goal in the 56th minute to go up by 2.
Augustans fell by a score of 2-0, but their ultimate goal of  establishing themselves early on as contenders for the conference championship started out last week.
One major focus this season for the Vikings has been building team confidence. Junior captain Salah Aghlaf credits the senior class with some of the positive changes seen on the team. “The older guys are doing a good job at changing the team’s mentality this year,” Aghlaf said.
Senior captain Matt Allen echoed these sentiments. “We’ve changed the program a lot from my freshman year. We’re going in the right direction…It’s my responsibility to make sure we’re all on the same page and everybody has high morale,” Allen said.
With confidence running high, Augustana hope to take control early on. Allen continues, “I think we just need to play our game. Honestly we’ve been playing really good. We’ve let up a couple small mistakes and we’ve been punished for it, so I think if we can minimize those we should be pretty good,” Allen said.
The Vikings are 2-4-1 so far on the season. Despite what the numbers say, Aghlaf believes the team’s record shows that the team is ready to compete on a high level.
“We had a couple tough games but it shows that we can compete. We played very well in the games that we lost and they weren’t huge losses. We competed until the last minute which means we can definitely go all the way in this tournament,” Aghlaf said.
“The CCIW is a lot faster, stronger, and way more physical,” added Allen. “We need to make sure we continue to play a fast speed of play. Confidence has been a thing in the past so we need to come in super confident especially against bigger teams like North Park,” Allen Said.
Along with confidence, Aghlaf believes experience will play a major role moving forward  for the men.
“We have more experience in the field, and all the guys that are on the field have at least a year or two years of experience of playing the conference…Now we know all the teams and they know us…we know what we’re going to be facing,” Aghlaf said.
The game plan for this upcoming weekend is, “to bring our game to them. We gotta impose our style on them rather than deal with their style of play,” Allen said.
Aghlaf had a similar opinion regarding future games. “[We have] to go in there and compete for every single ball and every single play for the whole 90 minutes and just have that winner’s mentality,” Aghlaf added.
The men hope to showcase this new confidence and mentality this Saturday, October 5th at 7:00pm for homecoming at Thorson-Lucken Field against Carroll University.

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Viking Men’s Soccer Opens Up Conference Play