New coach, new concept
New soccer coach Kevin Vincent is all about teamwork and his players are receiving the message loud and clear.
Junior Austin Knipp, the team's leading goal scorer the last two seasons, has seen change right away under the direction of Vincent. He attributes the team's reception of Vincent to the respect that the new coach demands.
"In years past practices have not been very strict and this year we're finally listening," Knipp said. "I think Vincent puts a lot of it on. I think the players like him.
"I think last year the players didn't really like the coach too well and they just didn't want to do anything for him."
Vincent knows he has talent. Knipp, one of the team's lone bright spots last year, found the back of the net 18 times in 2004. Senior goalie Zach Lowe returns as the starting keeper and has a new backup, sophomore Matt Muller. Muller is a transfer from Texas and Vincent has been impressed with Muller thus far in practice. Talent has not been the problem in the past but getting the talent to play together has been an issue.
"We haven't played as a team in the past," Vincent said. "We've had a lot of great individuals but not individuals bonding together to play as a team."
This year's team does not carry the selfish attitude that may have troubled the Bobcats in the past. Vincent says his players get along. He even notices that there are no "grade clicks" between the classes, which is often a problem with high school teams.
Last season the Bobcats often found themselves in games that turned in to blowouts. Vincent expects that they will be in every game this season.
Knipp, along with his teammates and coach, is confident that the team will be able to finish over .500 this season. This is no small feat. Knipp has never been on a Bobcat team that finished over .500. But things are different this year and the players know that.
"I have a feeling this season is going to be a lot better than last season," sophomore sweeper Sam Seaman said.
It is no secret. Vincent is stressing teamwork and he is just hoping that the 2005 Bobcats continue to practice the message that he preaches.
"It's a cliche but we're only as good as we play as a team," Vincent said.