Men’s soccer turns to a offseason of hope

By Ryan Day |

Flagler forward Boris Kalff isn’t giving any excuses on what he calls a disappointing season for a Flagler men’s soccer program that has only collected two wins in the first 15 games of the season.

“We as a team did not play up to our quality,” said Kalff, one of nine players from Europe. “I am very disappointed. We’re all very disappointed. I can’t think of one man on this squad that isn’t.”

“To have a record like we do, it’s hard to keep thinking positive,” Flagler midfielder Marcus Intek said. “It was a lot of small things that needed to come together that didn’t.”

Years from now, the record books will put Flagler at 2-13-2 with two games left to play, but record books don’t always tell the whole story. So where can the Saints draw encouragement and hope for the future?

Sophomore goalkeeper Josiah Holtz started every game except one in his first season as the full-time starter. This season, he has allowed only 27 goals in the first 14 games he’s played, a 1.95 GAA.

By comparison, Saint Leo University’s (9-4-2) goalkeeper Sam Leudke, had a much higher 2.30 GAA. Holtz has also saved 70 of 97 shots on goal, a .722 save percentage. Leudke had a much lower save percentage of .611 percent.
Barring injury, Holtz will be keeping goal for the Saints for the next two seasons.

The Saints have also shown they can play up to stiff competition. Against second-ranked Lynn University Sept. 9, the Saints kept the eventual Sunshine Conference winners scoreless until there were only 12 minutes left in the game.

Lynn’s explosive offense has scored 52 goals all season, the most of any team in the Sunshine Conference. They only scored two against Flagler.
When up against 11th-ranked Embry-Riddle on Sept. 4, the Saints tied after double overtime. The Saints also held the advantage over Embry-Riddle in shots on goal (13-9) and corner kicks (11-6).

Most importantly, of the 28 players on the roster, only four are seniors. That’s a tremendous luxury very few teams have.

That fact is a comfort to head coach John Lynch who is in the process of taking Flagler’s men’s soccer team to full-time Div. II play next season.
“The schedule has been brutal, to be honest,” Lynch said. “Everyone is fighting, nailing through it. I’m encouraged for next year.”

Players and coaches alike point to the team’s inability to score goals as a major concern.

Why is it the Saints were only able to score 13 goals through the first 15 games of the 2007 season when last year they scored 33 goals in 19 games?
“It’s a mental thing,” Kalff explained. “When we’re up 1-0 or even 2-0 we need to score another goal. And another. And then another. We need to be more aggressive. We need to not be afraid of getting the ball and taking shot after shot.

“When we have another offseason under our belts and gel, you’ll see a much, much better squad on the field. I promise you that.”

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