With the Webster University men’s soccer team only losing three of its players from last season, the Gorloks are set for what seems to be a season loaded with potential.
Coach Marty Todt is headed into his 25th season of coaching at Webster. Todt thinks the Gorloks haven’t had this much depth on the team in a number of years. In addition, Webster has 10 seniors on the team this season as well as eight starters returning. Todt said he has a group of players who not only work hard, but also work well with each other.
“They are a very cohesive unit,” Todt said. “They listen really well. It’s really neat to see all these guys come together.”
Even though the Gorloks lost key senior players in goalie Alex Cupp and midfielders Bryan Enger and Dominic DeVasto from last year, the coaching staff looks for this team to be led by the large group of seniors. The coaches also expect the team captains to step up and show their leadership.
“When we’re doing drills (the captains are) the first ones on the field and the last ones to leave,” associate head coach Michael Siener said. “Not only can you verbally express your leadership, but you got to back that up physically, too. And I think they all do that.”
In previous years, Webster has had some bad luck in the league. Just last season the Gorloks lost to conference rival Fontbonne University with eight and a half seconds left in the game. Furthermore, the past two years they were knocked out of the conference tournament by Greenville College. However, senior midfielder Kyle Leonard said the team tries not to dwell on the past and just concentrate on one game at a time.
“I think this is our year to beat them (Greenville),” senior forward Clint Carder said. “We’ve all been there, losing to them. So I think that will definitely fuel a fire in us.”
The SLIAC is expected to be the toughest it’s been in 10 years. Fontbonne coach Brian Hoener anticipates three other teams being the most challenging for his team this year: Westminster College , Greenville and Webster. While the Gorloks are viewed as a threat within the conference, it will be important for them to stay focused down the stretch.
“We’ll get tested early, and find out a lot about ourselves those first eight or nine games,” Siener said.
Video by Danielle Rodgers
Two of the biggest adjustments the team will try to make are to be more physically fit for the entirety of a game and perfecting the team chemistry. Having a new starting goalie, sophomore Brian Woodward, could be viewed as a weakness, but the team has confidence in his ability to get the job done.
“My goal is to allow as few goals as possible,” Woodward said.
The Gorloks finished with a record of 8-9-2 last season and hope to improve that mark this year. With a big senior class, great depth and a new turf field, Webster is all set to start the season. And it should be clear what the Gorloks’ main goal is.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that we should take the conference title,” Leonard said. “It should be ours. This is our year.”
Men’s soccer’s first game is its home opener versus Lindenwood University-Belleville on Friday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. at St. Louis Soccer Park.