It was a Saturday night game against BYU that steered the UVU men’s soccer head coach Kemal Makasci to say he had seen the best defensive performance out of Utah Valley in six years against BYU.
UVU didn’t win the game over the Cougars, however. But the game provided the team (1-2-1) to look at the strategies they do hold and build off their momentum following a match from a very competitive team.
The strategy that Makasci felt was brought to light in the game against their neighbors was the way the team’s intentions from practice were matched on the field after consistent formation and an efficient system of play.
“The BYU game was the best game in terms of defensive tactical strategies,” Makasci said. “We did a very good job, but [BYU] punished us with three goals in the second half.”
The Wolverines finally able to secure a point on the board last Saturday against the Cougars following a goal from Jonathan Luce, but BYU was able to take home the win 4-1.
“I came on the field determined to do my best,” Luce said. “I didn’t have much playing time, but without the ball from my teammates, I wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time. I think I just struck the ball with precision and put it away.”
The defensive tactical strategies that Makasci mentioned were largely implemented by good communication amongst the team during gameplay. Following a practice last week, Luce mentioned that the team has been taking their successes from the loss against the Cougars and strengthening that to a higher extent. Consequently, verbal communication between the players along with shots-on-goal were the areas of focus in the concluding hour of Tuesday night’s practice.
With a very fresh roster in place, the team keeps raising their own bar. Though the team has two losses on their backs along with a tie and and one win, they seem to find a click in each game, one way or another. Players on the team build their relationships with their teammates and that reflects on the field during the game. It’s a trait the team needs in order to fulfill their goal of improving their season record.
“We all have chemistry and we all have confidence in each other,” said player Cole Morley. “We don’t have as many talented players, but we work well as a team. Our goal is to build our defense up and build communications and focus offense.”
As of early last week, UVU is hoping that the communication and defensive strategies they have been focusing on will help the team pull off a win against Salt Lake Community College.
The team met for the second time this season on Saturday night. In their last meeting, UVU tied SLCC 2-2.