Unmet Expectations

Unmet Expectations

Ryan Thomas

“Disappointed.” That’s all Myles Berry, men’s head soccer coach, could muster up regarding the season. It was a season, which ended the way it began two months ago: with playoff aspirations.

The 2006 season showed everyone that Beacons’ soccer was for real. After a loss to Plymouth State on penalty kicks in last year’s conference tournament, Berry looked to take the next step and be a contender for the Little East Championship in 2007. The season did not go according to plan.

Even though the Beacons stayed above the .500 mark overall, their conference record is what made the difference. After losses at Rhode Island College and home against the University of Southern Maine, the Beacons were in an early 0-2-conference hole and were unable to pull themselves back out.

The problems that plagued the Beacons against Rhode Island and Southern Maine-not taking advantage of scoring chances and inconsistent defense-were apparent all season. These problems, the Beacons’ biggest flaws, continued right up until the end of the season against familiar foe Plymouth State University.

Leading 2-1 with less than a minute left, the Beacon defense allowed Plymouth State to pressure and eventually score the tying goal. “That just kind of sums up the season,” Berry lamented. “We were up with fifty seconds left and we allowed them to score a goal.”

The Plymouth State game didn’t have playoff ramifications for either side. Those key games were weeks earlier. When UMass Boston faced off against Eastern Connecticut State University, Myles expressed the importance of the remaining conference games to his players. “That’s when we told the kids that playoffs are starting,” he said. At the time, the Beacons were 1-2 in conference and were still in the running to nab the fourth, and final playoff spot. The Beacons lost the game-and their chance at qualifying for the Little East Tournament.

A window may be closing for the men’s soccer team. In 2008, the Beacons will be without five key players-seniors Guillherme Goncalves, Anthony Cataldo, Stew Tracy, Maynor Sanchez and Emile Pierre-Louis. Aside from Goncalves, each of the four started every game and served as intricate parts of the team. Midfielders Goncalves and Maynor Sanchez accounted for 13 goals and 30 points this season. Stew Tracy was “rock steady the entire year,” Berry said.

There’s nothing like a good soccer mind for insight into the bowels of the LEC. Myles Berry has been around the league long enough to know who’s legitimate and who’s not. Berry thinks that Keene State College, who beat UMass Boston 4-2 in the regular season, has what it takes to win the championship this year.

He believes that Keene State was the only team that outplayed the Beacons this year. “I thought they were all over us,” he said about the powerful Owls. “And I really didn’t feel that way with a lot of other teams. They just wore us down.”