By: Noah Lessing ’15
I speak for everyone when I say how excited I am to start the ODAC season. Getting the opportunity to play the best competition in the south is a big reason for this. But an even bigger reason is that we are all ready to put the non-conference play behind us. Filled with young players, our team has taken longer than expected to mesh on the field. As March rolled around, the faces in the locker room were optimistic, but demanded change. Since taking a greater accountability for our actions and our commitment to what we do, we’ve begun to take a step forward. Randolph-Macon this past Saturday signified the first page in a brand new book that the 2014 Generals hope to fill with memories of greatness.
This program has historically been known for strong defensive play. Watching teams rack double digits on us was demoralizing to say the least. The d-unit, myself included, needed to end the embarrassment. A loss to Mary Washington was hard to endure but we put in our first solid game of defense all year. Going into Randolph-Macon we knew we could continue to get better and it showed right away—the crew let in one goal through three quarters. Our 6v6 defense finally clicked and both keeps, Warren Berenis and Wyatt Devine, played up to the task. The only goal we let in for 45 minutes was man down and we controlled every aspect on our end of the field. For the first time in a while, our team was actually having fun. The morale was up and the bench was fiery. Watching my 44 teammates enjoying the sport we love was a beautiful sight. As a group, we couldn’t be happier with our emotional and physical performance. Our first ODAC win definitely gave us confidence, but we know that if we want to win a conference title we have a lot more work to do.
Right now nothing has been handed to this team. A preseason top-20 ranking vanished, we dropped four straight games (three of which we won last year), and we lost three All-Americans to graduation. We are by no means a star-studded team. Our identity has yet to be established. But if I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned in my life, it is that adversity itself doesn’t breed success; rather, it is how you deal with adversity that shapes your character and determines whether or not you will thrive and succeed. And if I had to tell you one thing about this team, it is that I could not be more excited to watch how we grow and respond to the upcoming challenge. The goal is to play deep into May, and we will accept nothing less.
Up Next: We mic’d up head coach Gene McCabe for the Sewanee game and you’ll get to see Generals’ gameday from the pregame through the postgame.