We were certainly not 100% for that first game, but this was not expected/planned, nor would it have been possible even if we had planned it in a way that we would typically approach an inseason game. We were able to, however, to come away with a 3-0 victory at home, and no injuries except a contusion due to a late challenge from a very physical side (they came to kick us).
Although sometimes we went over the planned training loads (and under too some days), the preseason period as a whole progressed as planned. It is now that we are entering a very difficult run of games (4 away games against good sides in 12 days), that this planning, and challenging period last week, will come to our aid now that the volume of training will drop.
This "roadtrip" of matches actually already started last night when we were victorious against a strong UNC Greensboro side that is currently ranked in the top 25 in four national polls. As in the Presbyterian game, it was not all that pretty but we got the result. Perhaps most positively, we were able to improve as the game went along and score the game winning goal in the last minute of over time. (for the non-American, all college soccer games go to 2x10 min golden goal over time periods if the scores are level at 90 minutes). It was a very challenging 110 minutes for our players as we continue to build our match fitness.
Each year that the ETSU men's soccer team has worked with the CESSCE, progress has been made on the field, in the weight room, and in our sport science practices. I hope to illustrate this progress with more specifics in a blog / article in the near future but have to be careful not to divulge too much at this stage. It goes without saying that we, the men's soccer sport science staff are constantly in a process of improving how we are doing things. In-depth analysis into every session, performance, and injury is key to this, as is timely communication with the coaching and sports medicine staff.
There truly is a special group of player's here. We have great spirit in the locker room, on the training pitch, and out under the lights come kickoff. This spirit has been displayed in the number of close games that we have won in the past two seasons. I have said it before that there is no way that we can continue to win such a high percentage of games in overtime, but even if some luck falling against us in the future, I feel confident that we will win more games late on than we will lose.
Above all else, the players also seem confident too and show great ability when the game is even approaching 90 minutes. If sport science has helped in building this then I am very happy.