Written by Kirsten Janes, Staff Writer
As the reigning conference champions, the Furman men’s soccer team appeared to be in a surprising bit of trouble, plagued with injuries and facing stronger opponents. After three straight losses to larger opponents in Clemson, Presbyterian and Charlotte, the group set out to win their conference games without question.
Last week the squad notched a hard-fought win against UNCG to improve to 3-0 in Southern Conference play, and they added a fourth game to their winning streak with Rocky Guerra’s 86th minute goal against the Spartans. This is Guerra’s second game-winning goal this season.
“We’re confident that we can beat anyone as long as we play our game,” said Guerra about the building team comradery. “The younger guys have settled well with the group. The more they play, the more they’re getting used to it.”
After a few major injuries, the defense has picked up a new rhythm to glide through conference games without allowing a goal. Stepping in earlier this season for long-time starter Ben Hale was crowd favorite Max “Fish” Fisher. Fisher has played spectacularly in the team’s conference wins, making difficult saves and leading the team from the box as one would expect of a veteran. His diving saves and quick thinking have allowed a focus on offensive play to secure goals and make advancements for younger players.
Junior forward Cole Mclagan, tagged Southern Conference Player of the Week, has been a major key in the shifted back line. Mclagan leads the team in goals scored with six, coupled with two assists, but he also spends a fair amount of time on the defensive side of things, assisting an injured defensive group. As one of the few upperclassmen to make a regular start, McLagan takes on a leadership role over the younger team, and he will be sure to continue that in this senior year.
After suffering a 4-3 overtime loss against Mercer last Saturday, the team looks on to play rival Wofford before coming home for a final match on senior night against the Belmont Bruins. Sitting comfortably at second in the conference, the reigning champs have the confidence to go to the distance in pursuit of another ring.