To open their season games for the Sunshine State Conference, the Saint Leo men’s soccer team travelled to St. Petersburg to play Eckerd College. Last year, the Lions were able to win the regular season SSC Championship and beat Eckerd on their way to the NCAA Regional play, where they fell short to Rollins College.
For this year, Head Coach Keith Fulk added many new players in all positions to improve the team even more. After having multiple injury problems in the last year, the team is trying to get a broader selection of high class players to be ready for any other team.
One of the key players to look out for is Matthias Katerna, a senior who scored nine goals last year while having four assists. He is supported by the Lions’ strong midfield.
This worked out well when the Lions opened their season with an opening tournament, in which they beat the nationally ranked Young Harris College. After the successful start, the team moved on to place ninth in the national rankings.
However, Eckerd had not been beaten yet in the current season with four consecutive wins in the last four games. All the games were played on their home field and they also used this advantage against the Saint Leo Lions.
In the first half, Eckerd’s Robert Labus scored to give the Tritons a lead. In the second half, the Lions were not able to control Eckerd, who scored two more times against the Saint Leo Lions. Even four saves from the goalkeeper James White couldn’t prevent the 3-0 loss to the Tritons who now have five straight wins.
The Lions had five shots on the goal by Joaquin Peluffo, Matthias Katerna, Marcelo Casas, and Keisuke Ohata, but Eckerd’s goalkeeper was able to save all shots.
The game was definitely not what the Lions expected to start their regular season. They showed their strength in the opening tournament and have to bring that confidence back on the field. In a strong Conference with four nationally ranked teams, there are no easy games and the Lions will have to play at their best to repeat their Conference Championship.
The Lions’ Pride will keep you updated as the Lions continue their season.