McIntyre feels SU ‘moves boulder’ in coach’s debut season

McIntyre feels SU ‘moves boulder’ in coach’s debut season

first_imgSyracuse men’s soccer has started to move the boulder. So says first-year head coach Ian McIntyre. In the first season — a season in which McIntyre’s team was primarily comprised of newcomers — SU was simply making that first push. It was building a team, establishing a core, learning to play as a unit and slowly trying to set the boulder that is the SU soccer program in motion. Although McIntyre said the 2-10-5 season was ‘disappointing’ given the high hopes for the program, he realizes this season was just the first step. ‘There’s high expectations in this program and that’s exciting,’ McIntyre said. ‘We feel that we have a bright future. But you understand. You use the metaphor that you’ve got to get this boulder moving, and the hardest work is always that initial force required and then as things get rolling, things get a little easier.’ The team had the fewest wins of any SU team since 1971. It was unable to score in nine of its 17 games and amassed just 10 goals the whole season. But much of this disappointment is likely a result of the fact that this was a building year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Coming into the season, 10 players on a team of 30 were returners. The team had no base to build from. The only way to describe the hodgepodge of returners, transfers and freshmen was ‘new.’ It was this newness that encompassed the team all season. There was an upside for many of the returners as they were given a fresh start, but on the field a lack of familiarity was apparent. For the transfers and the returning players, the new coaching staff and the changes to the team meant getting to start over. Particularly for the returners who endured a season of intra-team conflict over the ultimate firing of former head coach Dean Foti, the clean slate was important. Sophomore David Neumann said particularly after a bad season last year (3-15-0), it gave the players new hope. ‘Coming into the season with a fresh outlook, new faces, it was like we were starting over again,’ Neumann said. ‘Almost like it was my first year again, being able to start over.’ Yet the team had little time to mature, individually and together. It took some time for players to figure out where their teammates would be, junior Nick Roydhouse said. The communication issues often led to turnovers and kept the Orange from stringing passes together. During the course of the season, four freshmen got playing time. Brett Jankouskas and Robbie Hughes started most of the games. But having such young players can be challenging. McIntyre said they had to get used to the physicality and speed of college soccer, which takes time. The burden was placed on them to truck on anyway. ‘We’re a work in progress,’ McIntyre said. ‘We will continue to evolve as a team. A lot of young players got a lot of experience this year. … And perhaps players that we would have liked to have slowly introduced to our program and Division I soccer really had a baptism by fire this year.’ Looking ahead, however, the Orange has established its core group. In the offseason, Neumann anticipates the players will continue to work on getting to know each other. This will specifically take the form of ball work, to eliminate the communication issues. And with the season only over for four days, the team was already back on the field running. It struggled with fitness throughout the season and was unable to catch up given the short time between games. Next year there will be no excuses. As Roydhouse said, ‘You can never be too fit.’ So with the first push behind it, Syracuse continues to get that boulder up to speed. ‘We’ve got a really good core group now to work off,’ Roydhouse said. ‘Everybody kind of knows what’s going on. And it will be easier for new players to come and just to see what’s happening from the players that are already here so they can catch up and join them.’ [email protected] Published on November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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