Tuesday, June 23, 2020

UIS soccer relieved and excited for upcoming season

A reduced season beats nothing.

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s and women’s soccer teams applauded the upcoming schedule for the 2020 regular season, which were released this past week.

Although shortened by four games without any nonconference matchups per the NCAA Division II Presidents Council decision in May downsizing sports events across the board due to COVID-19, they will still get to compete against every team in the Great Lakes Valley Conference as usual.

The postseason, including the GLVC tournament, also remains the same for the moment.

“I was so excited when I found out we’re still going to have all of our conference games,” said UIS women’s soccer player Emma Little. “I’m content with whatever soccer I can play. Hopefully there’s a good turnout at those high level games at home.”

Both teams begin the soccer season on Sept. 6 at University of Missouri-St. Louis and each will play seven home games at Kiwanis Stadium.

“I was pretty sure we were going to have a season, so I’m not really shocked,” said UIS men’s soccer player Lorenzo Bacchetta. “I’m happy it’s confirmed and that for sure we’re going to have 14 games.”

“I’m just delighted that we’re going to have the opportunity to be able to compete again,” UIS men’s coach Adam Hall said. “They shortened the season by four games, but the conference games are much heavier at the start of the season if you look at the traditional top eight teams in the conference. We play the majority of those teams in the first half of the season, so we have a really difficult start. If we get out of there, we’ll be set up nicely.”

“My first reaction was relief because it meant that we get some sort of season,” UIS women’s coach Erin Egolf said. “There was worry that the season would be canceled or pushed to next semester. Having any game is preferable to none at all. We got a pretty good deal to play 14 games. I’m excited for our players and just ready to get going.

A couple of exhibition matches will likely be in the offing. The upcoming schedule will regardless present unique challenges ahead.

There may be less preparation time but also less room for error.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on June 22, 2020.