Seniors lead men’s soccer team to a 15-3-1 season
TNE Editor
/ Categories: RiverHawk Athletics, Soccer

Seniors lead men’s soccer team to a 15-3-1 season


Dustin Teenor

TNE writer

The RiverHawks men’s soccer team ended their season on a tough loss to Fort Hayes Tigers, which ended their season with a 15-3-1 record. However, for the seniors on this team, their achicvements on and off the field go beyond that.

The five seniors led their team to a regular season conference runner-up finish, which has happened seven times in NSU’s history, with three of those coming in the last three years. These guys also made it to the NCAA Round of 16 in 2018 and made an Elite Eight appearance in 2017. Also, Joe Garcia, senior midfielder and Trevor Reed, senior forward were named to the All-Conference Region first team. Garcia became the 12th player in school history to be recognized as an All-American and is the first to do so since 2012.

“They set a very good example by playing with heart that the younger guys haven’t seen before,” said Aaron Ugbah, junior forward. “They stepped up and showed how important it is to play, not only as a unit but as brothers and I think the younger guys really bought into that.”

Two of the five seniors this year were captains for the team, Garcia and Bailey Weeks, senior defender.

Weeks has been on the team since 2015 and redshirted a season back in 2016. He had several achievements for his play on the field like All-Conference Second Team in 2017 and All-MIAA Honorable mention in 2015. Weeks was also recognized in the classroom. He was a MIAA Scholar in 2017 and 2015, while making the MIAA Academic Honor Roll in 2016. Weeks started in every matchup this season, totaling 1618 minutes played.

Garcia was an offensive force for the Riverhawks for multiple seasons with an amazing stretch of games in the first half of this season. He started 12 games this year before getting injured, but didn’t seem to miss the net when he got the opportunity to play. Garcia scored 13 goals this season, while breaking a school record for the most consecutive games with a goal. He scored in 12 consecutive games breaking the record of six set by himself in 2017. These consecutive goals placed him third in the Division Two record book. Garcia was also named freshmen of the year in 2015 and scored 21 goals that season having third most goals in Division Two that season.

“I think just juggling school and soccer is something that I’m really proud of,” said Garcia. “I learned that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough.”

The team will also have to replace Justin Todd, senior forward, Julius James, senior midfielder and Reed.

Todd came to NSU in 2014 and redshirted in 2016. He played right away when he came to NSU, totaling 944 minutes in his first year while scoring six goals that season. Todd also achieved awards like All-Conference Second Team in 2017 and the MIAA Academic Honor Roll In 2014 and 15.

James came to NSU in 2014 and did not play his 2016 season. He got to see the field 13 times as a true freshman and was involved in most of his matches. This season, James got to see the field in 12 matches, while starting in eight of them. He got an assist in the Ouachita Baptist game, which led to an 8-1 blowout. James was also part of the squad that made it to the Elite Eight in 2017. 

“Because of soccer, I have had the opportunity to travel while in school, continue to play the game I love and meet a lot of new players,” said James. “It’s been a challenge balancing the lifestyle between school and sport, but I’ve learned a lot.”

Reed came to NSU in 2014 and was awarded a medical redshirt in 2017 after two games into the season. He has achieved multiple awards for his play on the field like MIAA All-Conference selection in 2016 and MIAA athlete of the week in two different years in 2016 and 2015. He was selected for the MIAA Academic Honor Roll in 2014 and 15, while getting over 17 starts in both of those years played. This season, Reed started in 18 games totaling 1395 minutes, while scoring eight goals for the Riverhawks.

“This year’s senior class was special to us because they really set the standard of what the program needs to be at to achieve new levels,” said Ben Watson junior defender. “We got unlucky this year that we didn’t make it as far as we were supposed to, but that doesn’t discredit what those guys did for us. Day in and day out, they showed us the work ethic needed to win and to get the best out of everybody.”

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