With the regular soccer season coming to a close and the Centennial Conference tournament right around the corner, Swarthmore men’s soccer is looking strong and confident. Ranked second in the conference with an impressive 4-1-1 conference record and 9-2-2 overall record, they have proven themselves to be the team to beat.
“This is the best position we’ve had at this point in the season throughout my four seasons at Swarthmore,” Joe Barile ’22, captain and forward, said of the Garnet’s performance so far. “The plan has always been to play our best soccer when we arrive in the conference playoffs, which is what we are on track to do.”
Defender Derek Meuth ’23 added, “Right now, we’re in a really great position fighting for the home advantage in the conference playoffs … This puts us in a spot to not only do well in the conference playoffs, but also to hopefully make the NCAA tournament as well.”
The determination for success was apparent from the very beginning. In the first game of the season, Swarthmore came out with a thrilling 2-1 victory against Immaculata University.
Defender and captain Harry Nevins ’22 scored the first goal in the 26th minute.
“While not our flashiest or most exciting goal, the excitement of our first goal in nearly two years was just amazing,” said Meuth. “For a lot of us, it just made everything that we’ve been through as a team, especially for the seniors and their time off, worth it, that we were all finally back together playing soccer.”
Barile scored the game winner in the last fourteen seconds of the game to secure the team’s first victory since the pandemic. “All of the difficult moments this team went through in the past two years since we were last together on Clothier Field seemed to wash away,” he said.
This spirit of coming together for a common love of soccer has persisted and proven effective for the team.
The Garnet credit much of their success to the depth and dependability of their roster. Meuth calls this “the mentality of next-man up.” Everyone is on board and ready to pick up right where the last man left off on the field.
“This season, I’ve seen players continue to step up when injuries, illness, or other reasons are keeping usual starters out,” said Barile. “This team has not missed a beat no matter who goes down and that strong mentality is showing in our 9-2-2 record.”
Swarthmore men’s soccer is keeping their ultimate goal in mind. “For now, the mindset is to simply clinch the conference playoffs and win the entire thing,” said Barile.“We are only a couple results away from having a great position in the playoffs and still have a chance to host.”
Yet, they know the key to success is to take it one game at a time. “We always say that the most important game is the next one, and that mindset translates into our practices as everyone does everything possible to ensure that we, as a collective, are prepared for the next game,” said Meuth.
When asked what their favorite part of the team is, the common denominator for the players was always each other. Meuth said, “Something that has set this team apart from others that I’ve been on is that there is no animosity or rivalries between each other … Everyone truly wants each other to succeed and will be the loudest voices of support for each other.”
Barile echoed Meuth’s sentiment. “Through four years of Swarthmore soccer, despite our ups and downs when it comes to success on the field, the one constant for me has always been an intelligent, driven, hilarious, and compassionate group of teammates to spend time with,” he said.
Swarthmore men’s soccer has proven that dedication to one another and a steadfast mentality for victory can yield incredible success. The team takes on Dickinson this Saturday at 4 p.m. in an exciting Centennial Conference matchup.