Confidence boost needed after weak home start

Written By Nick Horwat, Copy Editor

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The men’s soccer team started the season with a 0-2 record, only scoring a single goal between the first two games last week.

In the first game last Wednesday, the Pioneers squared off against the No. 2 ranked team in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), the Florida National University (FNU) Conquistadors.

After the first half of the season opener at Highmark Stadium, the Pioneers were down to FNU 3-0. Newly-recruited Point Park goalkeeper sophomore Juan Somoza was key to keeping the game’s final score 4-0. Somoza was able to make a total of 10 saves in his debut match at Point Park.

“I’m looking forward to having a great future here and have a great season,” Somoza said.

Somoza’s goalkeeping highlighted the first game for the Pioneers last week, as FNU controlled most of the match. The second half did look to have more promise for the Pioneers as the team was able to develop more chances and have better defense, but they were unable to capitalize for a goal. FNU outshot Point Park 14-8.

The Pioneers looked to bounce back in the second game of the year against the Lawrence Tech Blue Devils Saturday, who were coming into Pittsburgh with a 2-0 record without allowing a goal.

Things started to look promising early in the game when six minutes in, sophomore transfer Wessel Reitveid was able to slip one past the Lawrence Tech goalie to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead. Reitveid not only scored the team’s first goal all season, but ended the Blue Devils’ shutout streak.

Shortly after that, the Blue Devils struck back and did not let off the gas pedal. Lawrence Tech would go on to score seven goals, leading to a 7-1 victory. The last three goals came in rapid fire during a span of just over eight minutes.

Point Park head coach Jeroen Walstra is beginning his 11th season at the helm and was not impressed by the play in the first two games.

“We were not successful attacking, defending, midfield play…no confidence,” Walstra said.

Walstra said he does know the team can improve after playing two tough teams to start the year. FNU is one of the top teams in its affiliation, while Lawrence Tech boasted a two-game shutout streak.

“It will take time [to improve]; you never know when it’s going to happen,” Walstra said. “We also have to play some teams that are a little weaker than the teams we’ve played so far, then you can win and get some confidence.”

Taking two losses is not the ideal way to start off a season, but there is plenty of time for the squad to build and improve as the season progresses.

“I know that we did not step off with the right foot, but I’m pretty sure we are going to give our best to improve it,” Somoza said.

The Pioneers’ next battle will be Saturday at 10 a.m. against Siena Heights University at Highmark Stadium.

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