William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist
On April 11, 2021, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team claimed the ODAC championship by beating Guilford 5-1.
Throughout the tournament, Kyle Gallagher, a senior goalkeeper, played at a high level. Gallagher acknowledged the challenges he would face as a goalkeeper entering the matchup against top seeded Hampden-Sydney, stating, “There is a good amount of pressure placed on goalkeepers throughout the ODAC. Depending how well or poorly everyone on my team is playing, I may have to touch the ball anywhere from 0-20 times per game.”
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team winning the ODAC this year is an immense accomplishment. Gallagher explained, “There was a small margin that separated all the teams in the ODAC this year. Furthermore, every team gave every extra ounce of effort they had which made the games more chaotic and less controlled. Since we kept the same energy and intensity throughout all our matches, we got the result we wanted because we were always able to place the ball in the back of the other team’s net. We were confident that if we played with passion and determination, nobody would be able to match our play. Everyone on our team believed our team was the best team in the ODAC, and the last three results proved this.”
Griffin Phillips, a junior defender, gave further detail regarding how the team was able to obtain such a high level of play in the ODAC tournament. “When we talked to the freshmen, we told them that there were not going to be any easy games in the ODAC tournament,” he said. “Every game was a tough, physical battle. I thought the freshmen knew the magnitude of every game. Furthermore, all the players and coaches had confidence in the freshmen to deliver high quality play in all the tournament games, and the freshmen exceeded expectations. Everyone worked really hard the last few months. We were aware of our strengths and weaknesses as a team. We learned from the games we lost, and we applied what we learned in the ODAC tournament.”
Head Coach Yeager agreed with Griffin Phillips regarding how well this team coped with losses. He said, “The losses to Liberty and Washington and Lee were great learning experiences for our team. The lessons we learned from those games were instrumental in helping us win the ODAC tournament. Every team, person, or organization suffers setbacks. However, a championship caliber team handles its losses and setbacks with confidence and an eagerness to learn from its setbacks to prevent future losses.”