By Daniel Herrick, Sports Editor
The men’s soccer team ended their season with a 3-0 loss in the first round of the MIAA playoffs at Calvin last Thursday.
The Hornets finished the MIAA season in fourth place with a 6-7-1 record, allowing them to qualify for the MIAA playoffs for the second season in a row. Kalamazoo lost to Calvin in the first round for the second straight year, as well.
It took the Hornets until the last day of the MIAA season to vault Albion and place them among the league’s top four. K played Trine on that day, last Tuesday, and defeated the Thunder 2-1. Trine struck first in the match with a 60th minute goal. Kalamazoo bounced back quickly though: freshman Kyle Hernandez found the back of the net in the 70th minute. Fellow first-year player Noah Bushaw netted the game-winner for the Hornets in the 88th minute.
K’s freshmen played a major part toward the team’s success throughout the entire year. At times, K started as many as eight freshmen. Hernandez tied for the team lead with four goals, and added two assists to place him second on the team in points with 10. Bushaw tied with freshman Dylan Jolliffe as the team’s second-leading scorer with three apiece. William Bennick added two goals and Camilo Cervino, one, to give the class a total of 13 goals this season. Kalamazoo scored 24 total.
“Although we didn’t have our greatest year, the freshmen contributed a lot and will only continue to get better with time,” said junior Captain Emerson Talanda-Fisher.
The Hornets will graduate just two seniors this season: Mike Paule-Carres and Sean Chetcuti. Paule-Carres played four seasons for Kalamazoo and finished his career with one goal and one assist. Limited by injuries this year, Paule-Carres appeared in just ten games.
2013 was Chetcuti’s second season with the Hornets after he transferred in to Kalamazoo from the College of Wooster at the beginning of last year. He appeared in 24 games for K. Injuries were a woe for K seniors as Chetcuti struggled to remain on the field this year, as well. He appeared in nine games this season with two starts.
“The two of them were a big part of the leadership aspect of our team,” said Talanda-Fisher. “While they weren’t always able to be on the field, their presence alone was a major part of bringing our team together.”
K will also lose Cervino after this season. He will be returning to Colombia for school following this quarter.
After only graduating two seniors, and the loss of one freshman, Kalamazoo should be considered a contender heading into next year’s MIAA season. The team struggled at times as their young team was forced to adjust to the physical play of the MIAA season. While they generally handled their business when playing against the bottom-four of the MIAA this season, the Hornets were just 1-6 against the top three teams: Calvin, Hope and Olivet.
“Despite making it to the playoffs, we didn’t have an entirely great year and we plan on working hard this off-season and come back to achieve even better things next year,” said Talanda-Fisher.