Saints end No. 1 in PBC, win first round

Head Coach John Lynch’s new formation helps team work together to succeed
By Gian Louis Thompson |
Photo by Josh Weaver

The Flagler College men’s soccer team finished first in the Peach Belt Conference and won the first round of the PBC tournament Nov. 3.

They face Montevallo in Evans, Ga., Nov. 6 and look to keep on rolling.

Head coach John Lynch credits the team’s success to a collaborative effort, but the team’s defense is what really stands out.

“I think we are defending so well because our midfield is playing so well,” Lynch said. “They are protecting the defense and holding onto the ball well.”

The Saints are producing on all levels, especially on defense. Three players won the PBC defensive player of the week award in September. Ryan Endrizzi, Steven Carothers and Kevin Partel each claimed the award in different weeks.

The Saints started the season with three losses in five games. The team employed a high-pressure 4-4-2 formation on the field, and Carothers thinks that formation contributed to the rocky start.

Lynch scrapped the 4-4-2 high-pressure tactic in favor of a 4-5-1 formation on the field. This allows the Saints defenders to sit back in their half and respond to and absorb the opposing threats as they cross the midfield line. The change proved itself a success as the Saints went on to claim victory in 13 of 16 games.

“In the low pressure 4-5-1 formation, we concede space and concede the ball,” Lynch said. “We are playing really well in our half.”

The low-pressure scheme also offers better chances for the offense. Because the Saints defenders sit back, the offense is able to remain up field on the alert for scoring opportunities. Also, the 4-5-1 scheme allows a defender to advance up field if given the opportunity while a midfielder draws back.

“This year, with a few minor changes, the defense has really come together,” Endrizzi said.

“We’ve switched defensive tactics which has allowed us to defend, but counter attack quicker.”

The team hopes to continue its success against Montevallo in the second round of the PBC tournament.

Lynch believes the team’s morale will catapult it to continued success.

“They are taking pride in shutting the other teams down,” Lynch said.

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