Head men’s soccer coach Russ Lawson has high hopes for this year’s season and is aware of the pressure put on the team to perform to a high level.
“There are high expectations for us because of our improvement we made last year,” Lawson said.
Part of this pressure comes from a schedule that includes three opponents with national tournament appearances and two that were just shy of making the cutoff. All home soccer games will also be broadcasted live on YouTube on the university’s YouTube channel.
Despite losing their first match to Holy Cross College 2-0 Aug. 27, Lawson is hoping a stronger non-conference will prepare the team well for the season’s conference play.
The team is led by captain Tyson Kalischuk, a junior, who is hoping for a healthy season this year.
“My injury last year was extremely frustrating,” Kalischuk said. “I was playing very well and doing really good in the season. When I hurt my hand, it definitely humbled myself, going from starting to not starting.”
Kalischuk credits the injury for helping him learn not only about himself but also his character.
“Going from having a lot of minutes and starting to going on the bench, I had to look at the time first and winning over my personal desires,” he said.
Teammate Isaac Wust credits Kalischuk with his leadership by example for the team.
“He’s a hard worker—he won’t stop working no matter what,” Wust said. “That’ll inspire the rest of us to keep working and that’s what we need. Even if we are losing and down one goal, he just keeps on working and that inspires [the team] to keep
Wust, a Huntington North graduate, was one of the main scoring catalysts for the Foresters last season in the midfield with three goals and five assists.
Kalischuk and Wust are just two examples of the high caliber players making up the Forester roster this year.
Lawson’s squad includes a seasoned back line of upperclassmen mixed with new blood. Lee Ewen, a transfer student, is credited by Lawson as anchoring the depth already existent in the back line tactically and technically. Meanwhile, Kalischuk will be playing left back, a new position to the offensively-minded Forester captain.
“I can be influential in that position and still dictate the game,” he said.
Meanwhile on the offensive end, Lawson’s young talent in Wust, Brooks Gerke and Scotty Murray will be continued to be utilized with veteran Joey Newberry up top.
“The offensive players have done some basic combinations that we have ground down to help us with creativity to help spark the offense,” Wust said.
He and roommate Gerke have a special friendship which plays to their advantage as Wust believes it helps the two understand and communicate what they want to do on the field better.
Lawson is counting on the creativity and talent of his crew to allow them to contend with their rivals.
“We feel offensively moving forward we have the weapons, the deception, the creativity to create the chances we need to put games away,” Lawson said.
Click here to view the 2014-2015 soccer schedule.