By Tim Smith
As the soccer season draws to a close, the focus shifts onto the next challenge: the postseason. For the Cedarville men, the future is bright.
The Yellow Jackets head into the last four games of the season with a record of 9-2-6 and 6-2-5 in conference play. The Cedarville men are also in third place in the G-MAC conference, behind only Ohio Valley and Lake Erie. The guys have high expectations around them, and they hope to live up to them.
What has lead up to this point? What has been the driving factor behind this successful season for the Yellow Jackets? The answer is simple: belief.
“I think we’ve had a lot of belief this season,” head coach Brett Faro said. “Every game we feel like we are capable of coming out with a result.
“I think when you have a young team that believes, it can be a very impactful thing.”
Preparing for the playoffs
Like Faro said, a youthful team can provide a lot of upside. But, it can also bring its own setbacks. There are a lot of components of a soccer game that need the experience of a mature soccer player, and an absence of that presence can cause problems.
“Like I said, I think we are still a young team,” Faro said. “That shows at times with this group, but I think it’s also something that provides us with belief and energy. So we try to use it in the best ways possible and grow in the areas that it can cause us to be vulnerable.”One of those vulnerable areas that Faro believes needs attention is the team’s ability to finish.
“I think we need to continue to mature in our ability to finish off games and finish opportunities when we do the hard work to create them,” he said.
Improving this portion can be the difference between a win and a loss, and there is no time more important for that distinction than the postseason.
Veteran Carter Selvius also sees the youth as a possible double-edged sword, but believes the pros outweigh the cons.
“One of the biggest strengths of this year’s team is the depth that we have,” Selvius said. “It has had a huge impact on how we train, how we respond to injuries, and how we play overall. As a team, though, we need to continue to mature on the field both with regards to discipline, not fouling at bad times, and recognizing the strategy of the other team. We need to be able to evaluate the other team on the fly and adjust to their style of play to exploit the weaknesses of the formation and tactics that they are using.”
Time to focus up
The season is not entirely over yet, and the Yellow Jackets will look to close out the season strong. But, as the postseason nears, the men are starting to recognize what they need to do to succeed at the next level and where the majority of their focus needs to lie.
Faro was adamant that the team can not get lost in the lights of success — they must stay grounded and focused on their own game.
“Our focus needs to continue to be on getting better as a group,” he said. “It needs to be on whatever moment is right in front of us. This season is about winning the small moments and becoming extraordinary at the ordinary details of how we operate. We don’t need to worry about the postseason as a whole as much as we need to stay focused on the moments in front of us that we can control.”
Selvius echoed the thoughts of his coach, emphasizing the importance of the team keeping it’s focus inward.
“It is really easy to get caught up looking at other teams and the results they are getting,” said Selvius. “The challenge will be to continue to stay focused on ourselves and taking care of the immediate details that are necessary to continue to win games as we move forward toward the postseason. If we take care of the little things and continue to focus on the present instead of looking toward the future, the rest of the playoff picture will take care of itself.”
The Yellow Jackets will open the G-MAC postseason tournament on November 9, with the conference championship game coming one week after.
Tim Smith is a sophomore Biblical Studies major and staff writer for Cedars. He loves football, 3 Musketeers Candy and primarily speaking in movie quotes.