Men’s soccer looks to finish strong

The+2018+men%27s+soccer+team+huddles+together+on+Oct.+6+during+their+match+against+Georgia+State.
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Men’s soccer looks to finish strong

The 2018 men's soccer team huddles together on Oct. 6 during their match against Georgia State.

The 2018 men's soccer team huddles together on Oct. 6 during their match against Georgia State.

The 2018 men's soccer team huddles together on Oct. 6 during their match against Georgia State.

The 2018 men's soccer team huddles together on Oct. 6 during their match against Georgia State.

Zackery Antrum, Sports Reporter

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As the soccer regular season comes to an end, the App State men’s soccer team has a lot to be proud of and lot to look forward to.

The team began its season at 4-0, which is its best start since 2008. It’s also surpassed the amount of wins earned last season despite the difficult schedule.

Some of the team’s individual highlights include freshman forward Cameron Holbrook’s hot start to the season. He scored four goals in his first two collegiate games and was not only named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week, but National Player of the Week as well.

The team has also benefited from the solid defensive play of senior Felix Kollmannthaler, Zieko Harris and Brady Gunter. Senior goalkeeper Jake Chasteen has been a wall in the back for the Mountaineers.

One of the Mountaineers’ most impressive wins came against Sun Belt foe Coastal Carolina, who won the past two regular season conference titles and were ranked No. 22 in the country at the time.

Despite being down 1-0, the team found an equalizer through junior midfielder Austin Hill to eventually force overtime.

In the overtime period, freshman midfielder Alex Hernandez found the back of the net and took down the Chanticleers.

Hill has been a staple in the midfield for O’Keefe’s side this season, who has a career-high two goals this season.

“It terms of the program, it definitely shows that we’re on the rise again,” Hill said. “For the season it puts us in the driver’s seat of what we want to do. If we want to win conference or go to the tournament, we have all of those options available to us because of that win.”

Hernandez, a freshman from Asheboro, North Carolina, has also had an impressive debut season for the Mountaineers. The midfielder has two goals on the season and was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after his game-winning goal against Coastal Carolina.

“It feels amazing as a freshman coming on the field and helping my teammates out and just getting the winning goal. I just had to keep going and keep grinding for my team,” Hernandez said. “For me, it was just if I made a mistake, I would evaluate it, get back up again and keep on going.”

The Mountaineers will close out their regular season when they host Howard on their senior day Nov. 3. A win against the Bison could give them a top seed in the conference tournament as they move towards their goal of making the NCAA tournament.

Story By: Zack Antrum, Sports Reporter

Photo By: Megan McCulloh, Staff Photographer