Normally a 5-4 loss to the alumni team would be a cause for concern.
But then consider the incredible talent that Doug Quint has had on his McPherson College men’s soccer team down through the years, so honestly there’s no shame in losing to the “older guys.”
Quint’s current Bulldogs probably faced one of the best teams they’ll go up against all year as the Mac grads showed they can still play top-flight soccer.
“It went well and was certainly a good time to evaluate some things,” said Quint, whose team has been receiving some votes in the national poll and is picked second behind Oklahoma Wesleyan in the KCAC race. “We had a stacked alumni team back, which gave us a good look at things. We played three 30-minute halves and our first 11 were up 1-0, the second 11 went down 3-1 and our third 11 finished the game 4-5.”
The game was the cap to the first week of practice. Quint graduated some tremendous talent, but replenished the roster with one of his best recruiting classes ever.
“We have great leadership this year and our players came in super fit and ready,” Quint said. “The returners really set a high standard this week as all of them passed their fitness tests and we had a lot of records broken. It's always nice to see the returners who know the expectations already in our culture live up to those.”
With such a large squad, a player had to be special to stand out.
“Eddie Gomez really has come into camp in super shape,” Quint said. “His fitness level and what he did this week has been off the charts. He put in 41.8 miles on the pitch this week in training. If you think about that, it's pretty amazing because that is not simply jogging. That is quick bursts of speed, changes of direction, sprinting, etc. Erik Espinoza had an outstanding week. The transfer center back from California really has lived up to my expectations of him.”
After a scrimmage here Wednesday against Allen County, the Bulldogs open for real on Saturday with a monumental challenge as they take on No. 8-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene, with game time 3 p.m. at The Kennel (the pitch to the east of McPherson Stadium).
“The shortened preseason has really made things difficult,” Quint said. “Imagine a basketball team trying to implement all their sets, in-bounds plays, offensive/defensive schemes with 22 players in 11 days before playing the eighth-ranked team in the country. It's the shortest amount of time we have had in my tenure here. It's certainly been a challenge. We have had to really monitor our workloads carefully to ensure that players aren’t getting injured. One of the best investments we made this offseason was a GPS monitoring system that our players wear every day. It tracks every single movement they make on a pitch and gives us real time data, heat maps, etc. It's made a huge impact in what we are doing daily.”