The Pride First Roar

Men’s Soccer qualifies for Nationals

PNW men’s soccer team will head to the NAIA national tournament after qualifying last Friday. The men’s soccer team will be the first PNW team to go to nationals.

Despite losing in the semifinals, the men’s soccer team still qualifies because Olivet Nazarene won in the CCAC finals, making PNW second place in the CCAC tournament. This earned them an automatic bid to play in nationals.

Sergio Reyes, senior midfielder and men’s soccer team captain, said this is the team’s second chance to make things better.

Reyes said that as a team captain, he blamed himself for their loss in the semifinals. The loss showed Reyes that they needed to fix their team environment.

“We learned that we needed to put in more effort and to want to win more. We had to stop fighting with each other and instead be patient. Overall, we needed to be more positive,” Reyes said.

Fernando Toro, freshman defender, said that this loss was a wake-up call.

“We weren’t focused on this game, but focusing instead on nationals. We weren’t a disciplined team,” Toro said.

Reyes said that despite their loss, they have made it far because they still want to succeed.

“We have this winning mentality where we just want to prove ourselves. We weren’t longer satisfied with our small wins, and we just decided we wanted to do bigger things,” Reyes said.

Reyes said that overall he is happy the men’s soccer team has the opportunity to compete in nationals and that the team members will give 100 percent when they play.

Jose Andriano, junior left midfielder, said he was also happy that they qualified for their nationals because of their rough beginning.

“We started at zero. Our team had bad communication, and it was difficult because it was made up of mostly new players. We also didn’t put too much effort in the last game,” Andriano said.

Andriando said the team has to change their mentality and improve overall for nationals.

“We were confident with ourselves, but that unfortunately did not show in the semifinals. Now we have to work hard for nationals and learn from our errors.”

Djordje Cancarevic, junior defender, said they have nothing to lose now that they have made nationals.

“The pressure that was on us before is gone, so now we can just focus on relaxing while playing and see how far we can go, one game at a time,” Cancarevic said.

Canacrevic also said that playing with higher competition is going to show where they stand as players.

Felix Guenzel, sophomore right midfielder, agreed with Cancarevic that they no longer have that much pressure, but their competition will.

“I think we are capable of winning because the pressure is now on our opponents. We’re not ranked and are basically the underdogs,” Guenzel said.

Guenzel added that now the team wants to go as far as possible and that the team owes it to the seniors to win for them.

Reyes hopes that qualifying and playing in nationals will also be motivation for next year’s team to do good things when they start playing Division II.

If the men’s soccer team wins the first round, they will advance to the national championship at the Seacrest Soccer Complex in Delray Beach, Florida.