Luther College Men’s Soccer has high hopes for new season

Luther Men’s Soccer opened conference play with a 2-1 loss to Central College at home last Saturday.  The loss brings Luther to an overall record of 6-2-1 and a record of 0-1 in the American Rivers Conference.

Central took an early lead in the first half with two goals. ,but then committed an own goal in the second half as the game tightened up. 

Luther also finds themselves in sixth place in the  American Rivers Conference after their first conference loss.  Despite the loss and subsequent low standing, forward Faydane Ouro-Akondo (‘22) is confident in the team due to their depth and strong personnel. 

“We had a big freshman group come in, which had a lot of good players,” Ouro-Akondo said.  “It’s a good thing to have bright and talented players on the team because it makes everyone work harder. Having around 44 players that were all willing to go on the field and work as hard as possible, it makes your chance to play well much better.”

Luther is coming off a season where they won the ARC Tournament and made it to the DIII Men’s National Soccer Tournament.  According to Ouro-Akondo, Luther is capable of making a another run in the national tournament.   

“We haven’t reached our peak,” Ouro-Akondo said. “It’s been another busy year for us but we’ll keep working hard. We have enough talent to beat our Elite Eight finish.  [We have] big expectations for our team, and I like having big expectations and beating them.”

Assistant Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coach Aidan O’Driscoll (‘19) also believes in big expectations.    O’Driscoll was a captain during the team’s run to the Elite Eight.   But O’Driscoll believes that expectations for this year have not changed from year to year.

“The expectations are the same as they are every year, which is to win,” O’Driscoll said. “Coach has massive expectations for the guys every year, and there’s no reason that this year they should drop off in any way, shape, or form.  I think if we keep winning games and playing the way we are I don’t see why we can’t end up in the same position we were last year.”

Goalie Carson Davenport (‘21) has specific goals in mind for the team’s season. 

“I think a successful season for us would probably be winning another trophy,” Davenport said. “Making the national tournament is definitely a goal for us that I think would qualify as a successful season.”

O’Driscoll is focused on achieving mental success for this year’s team, but he also believes that a truly successful year for Luther Men’s Soccer has to include winning.

“Success is a relative term,” O’Driscoll said.  “If we can come together as a team, play hard, and walk away with peace of mind and joy in our hearts, that’s a pretty successful year.  But I think there’s no player on the team that would say it was a successful year for us if we don’t  win something.”

According to Davenport, an important component of the team’s success is the vibrant fan presence at games.  At the game on Saturday, a large group of Luther students and community members were in attendance.  Davenport is grateful for the fan support.

“We always have really great support,” Davenport says. “We get a really good number of people to the games. And even just walking around campus, people I don’t know will come up to me and say ‘good game last night,’ or ‘congratulations on the win.’  I just want everyone to know how grateful we are for the opportunity we have and for the support we get from our community, our teammates, and for our program.” 

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau
Wesley McNeese (’20) controls the ball against St. Scholastica
Steven Johnson (’21) competes for the ball.
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