Trojan men seize 5th consecutive victory
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 4, 2006 2:28 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- With his team out to a disappointing 3-5 start late in September, fifth-year Mount Olive men's soccer coach Jerry Riggs presented his team with a challenge.
"I told them, 'We have 10 games left. Let's see what we can make of them.'"
Five games into that challenge, the Trojans are a perfect 5-for-5 as they turned in an impressive 6-1 win over Coker (S.C.) at Trojan Field on Tuesday afternoon in a Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference match. Mount Olive has outscored its opposition 20-2 during the five-game stretch.
Senior Chris Jasso dished out two assists, giving him a team-best 11 assists on the season. To Jasso, the Trojans' recent run seems to have more to do with their mental approach than their physical ability.
"Our attitudes have changed," he said. "We have better team unity and everyone is out here with the same purpose ... to win. There's eight of us seniors and we all want to go out with a bang."
Mount Olive (8-5, 2-3 CVAC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Adrian Daniels and Ryan Capdepon. Just over one minute after Capdepon's goal and 29:28 into the first half, Coker cut it to 2-1 when Sean Maupin scored the first goal against the Trojans in nearly 300 minutes of action.
The Cobras (3-9, 2-4 CVAC) never got any closer as Mount Olive's P.J. Pugliese finished a double-assist from Jasso and Adam Caston to close the first half scoring at 3-1.
During an eight-minute stretch in the middle stages of the second half, Bradley Carroll, Edwin De La Cueva and Jordan Covington all got on the board as the Trojans steadily put the game out of reach. Ryan Adamski posted two assists, while Capdepon, Dennis Gonzalez and Matt Wallin also had assists.
By game's end, twelve different Mount Olive players -- over half of the roster -- either had a goal or an assist and the home team had a 20-5 advantage in shots.
"This team doesn't really have one superstar and we don't have a 10-or-12 goal scorer at this point as we have in the past," said Riggs, who is now 46-38 during his tenure. "This team is just solid overall, and we've got guys that work hard. When you work, you create opportunities and that usually leads to success."
Mount Olive goalies Chase Smith, who started and played over 75 minutes, and reserve Bryan Stitz were rarely tested as Smith had the Trojans' only save. Charles Williams, Brandon Mills and Michael Garrett anchored an MOC defense which has given up one goal or less in 10-of-13 games.
"We are playing well in the back and at midfield. They seem to be defending with an attitude," Riggs said. "We switched to a 3-5-2 alignment several games ago, and it seems to be a good switch for us."
Mount Olive, currently seventh in the CVAC standings, is ranked in the NSCAA Division II Southeast Region Top 10 for the first time this season -- landing in a four-way tie for eighth place. The Trojans are among seven CVAC teams in the Top 10.
MOC travels to Lees-McRae on Saturday to start a three-game road stretch. The Trojans return home on Oct. 18 against archrival Barton.
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