The Webster University men’s soccer team has won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) three years in a row. Webster is the first team in SLIAC history to accomplish such a feat.
With a 1-0 win at Greenville College on Oct. 28,Webster clinched first place in the SLIAC, a spot they shared with Fontbonne University and Westminster College last year, and won outright in 2012.
After a regular season co-championship in 2013, the men’s team had high hopes for the 2014 season. Despite this, the Gorloks were picked to finish second in the conference in the SLIAC coach’s poll, which senior defender Tyler Brown said gave the team some early season motivation.
“We were projected to finish second and we thought we should have been projected to finish first,” Brown said. “And we’ve had a chip on our shoulder ever since we lost to Westminster in the finals (of the conference tournament) last year, so we definitely wanted to win the conference.”
Webster landed the biggest win of their nonconference schedule with a win against Wartburg College, on Sept. 6 who was ranked 11 in the nation at the time. The rest of the nonconference schedule was not as kind to the Gorloks. They finished 2-8-1, but Head Coach Mike Siener said playing a tough schedule was a part of his plan, and their record was not indicative of their play.
“I knew I wanted to challenge our guys and see where we were at and how we stack up against regionally ranked teams and nationally ranked teams,” Siener said. “We were playing well at times and we were in those games and we had chances to get results in some of those games but we just didn’t.”
Brown attributed the early struggles to early season injuries and formation changes, but he said the team returned to form as the conference games began. He said players found their roles and the form followed.
Webster started the conference slate with two big victories, 13-2 at Iowa Wesleyan College and 11-0 at Eureka College.
They finished out their conference schedule with an 8-0-1 record by beating Fontbonne 1-0 November 1, finishing off an undefeated conference slate for the first time since 2005 when they finished 6-0-4.
In their final game against Fontbonne, Webster’s leading scorer, senior Mike Wells scored the lone goal. Wells notched either a goal or an assist in all but two of the team’s conference games, and led the team in goals, seven, and assists, ten. He said scoring is a big part of his game, and he met the high expectations he set for himself.
“Every year for myself I try to be one of the leading goal scorers, and at least playing a part in the game,” Wells said. “Whether it be assists or goals, I just try to be a playmaker, and every year I have high expectations for myself.”
Webster stayed relatively healthy over the conference schedule, but they suffered one major injury. Taylor Overstreet broke his leg in their Oct. 14 game against MacMurray College. Overstreet played in 14 games and scored three goals before suffering his injury.
Brown, who has played with Overstreet since high school, said he feels for Overstreet, and said his injury has given the team more motivation to finish out the season.
“I would trade places with him if I could, and I know anybody else (on the team) would too, but we have to do it for him now and we have to bring it home and if we do anything less it’s going to be disappointing,” Brown said.
The regular season crown gives the Gorloks the right to host the conference tournament, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6, and Saturday, Nov. 8 at St. Louis Soccer Park in Fenton.
The tournament will consist of the top four teams in the conference. Webster, the no. 1 seed will face Fontbonne, the no. 4 seed, in the first round while Westminster, the no. 2 seed, will face Spalding University, the no. 3 seed.