The Highlander

Captain’s Corner

Mike Diakunczak

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Levi Roberts, sophomore defensive center back for the men’s soccer team, is heading into the 2018 season as a player to look up to even though soccer was not his priority upon entering the university.

“I chose Misericordia mostly because of the physical therapy program. Soccer was just an added bonus I get to enjoy.”

He didn’t know that he was going to take a crucial role on the team. In his freshman debut season, Roberts appeared in 18 games, and he started 15 of them. He added two assists to his stat line and received accolades such as an Honorable Mention to the All-MAC Freedom team, and he was also named MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year.

The talented team was close to glory. It had an overall record of 12-5-3 and went 6-1 in MAC Conference play. The most impressive statistic of the season was the unstoppable record of 7-1-2 with home-field advantage on Mangelsdorf Field. Home field advantage was given to the Cougars heading into the MAC Freedom Championships, where they advanced after winning game one against DeSales 3-0. However,  one of the team’s two losses came in the MAC Championship Game against Eastern College, ending an amazing season with a heartbreaking 5-3 loss in penalty kicks.

In 2017, the Cougars took a step back because the team lost a lot of  older talent, graduating nine seniors from the previous year. Younger talent, such as Roberts, were forced to take on leadership roles.

In his sophomore season, Roberts started 15 games, added another All-MAC Freedom Honorable Mention, and even had his first career goal in the second game of the season against Rochester College.

Despite some of the accolades Roberts received, he was not pleased: the Cougars finished 3-14-1, being eliminated from MAC Freedom Championship contention.

“Last years season was rough and very frustrating in general. But every day is a learning period, and we are going to keep getting better, and already have since the fall,” said Roberts.

Roberts and the rest of the Cougars started getting over it with only two weeks of rest time since the 2017 season concluded. The team started the offseason with consistent lifting, running and small sided game sessions. In the spring, the team split  into small groups to complete group competitions.

Roberts feels the team has connected more since last season, and all of the offseason work can turn the tide in 2018.

“Next year we just want to prove to everyone, including ourselves, just how much we have improved. We want to have a better team chemistry and play our best soccer at the end of the season, leading to a successful playoff run.”

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