Mercy Mens Soccer Fighting For Playoff Spot


The Goalkeeper has been a huge reason why the Mavericks have had such a strong season

After finishing a respectable 10-5-1 last season, this years Mavericks soccer team has a chance to be even better than the 2012 team.  Sitting at an impressive 11-4-4 with the regular season now complete  the Mavericks are now waiting to see if they did enough to receive an NCAA Championship berth

The Mavericks  outscored their opponents by fiften goals, with the Mavericks having netted thirty three goals, while opponents had a scarce eighteen on the season.  This is due to the Mavericks stifling defense, and the outstanding goaltending of Nick Pappas.

The senior goalkeeper from Castelton has been a brick wall in goal for the Mavericks all season.  So far, Pappas has given up only twelve goals on the opponents 153 shots, and has saved fifty nine shots.  Serving as one of the teams captains, Pappas has certainly led his team to many victories due to his superb play.  Back in September, Pappas was awarded the Student Athlete of the Month by the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee.  He was chosen for the award due to his success in the classroom,  his athletic performance,  extra- curricular activities, and volunteering and fundraising.  So far this season, Pappas has been recognized as the ECC Defensive Player of the Week  since he led the conference in saves percentage, and goals against average.

On most soccer teams, there is that one “star” player who scores majority of the goals, while the rest of the team just feeds him the ball.  For the Mavericks, this is  very far from the truth.  The Mavericks have seven people who have attempted ten or more shots, which shows the talent that is present all throughout the roster.  While taking shots is obviously important, the only way to win games is to put the ball in the back of the net. Just like the shot attempts, so far this season the Mavericks have had seven people score at least one goal. As an opponent, it is impossible to key on just one player on the Mavericks. This is because of the ability many players to score.

While it is a simple concept, a win is a win no matter how it is done.  While wining on the road is no easy feat, this year the Mavericks have won three games away from home, while only losing two games.  At home, the Mavericks have defended their turf well.  The team is 8-1-1 at home with their one loss being by just one goal in overtime to rival Nyack College.

Every game is important in an eighteen game schedule like the Mavericks have, but the games in the conference are even a little bit more important. Winning in the conference is important for seeding purposes in the postseason, and beating a conference rival is always good momentum building into to the next game on the schedule.  So far this year, the Mavericks have three wins against conference foes, and just two losses.  The Mavericks conference wins have came against NYIT ,  St. Thomas Aquinas ,  and Queens College.    The Mavericks finished with a very respectable record of 5-2-3 in conference play.  In such a tough conference, this is a bright achievement for the team.

Credit has to be given to the coach of the team, Chris Smith.  After leading the team to their first East Coast Conference since 2005 last season, Smith has coached his team to what looks to be another postseason birth again this year . While the players are the ones who ultimately determine who wins or losses, it is impossible to not take notice of the impressive coaching that Smith and his assistants have done for the 2013 campaign.

Smith was asked about why he feels his team had been so successful, at the time the team was 8-3-2. He said ” It all starts with our intensive off season work, the summer conditioning program, and the preseason camp.  Our 8-3-2 record is good, but we want to do even better. I am proud that we have been regionally ranked in the East for the entire season and all of last season.  With few games remaining, we have a great chance to make the ECC playoffs again and possibly earn an NCAA Tournament bid.  It is exciting and our boys are fully committed to battle any, and all adversity that comes our way which will serve them well now, and for the rest of their lives in everything they look to do personally and professionally” .

Smith must be proud of the way his team finished. The Mavericks won three of their last five games, with the other two games being 0-0 ties to tough opponents, before heading out to LIU Post to play in the ECC Semifinals.  The Mavericks gave it all they had, but lost a tough one by a score of 2-1. With just 2.1 seconds remaining in the game, LIU Post scored off a rebound attempt to give them the victory.

The Mavericks have no reason to hang their heads, as there is still a possibility that they will receive a possible NCAA Championship bid.