Once a Leatherneck, Always a Leatherneck

The end of the semester is drawing near and that means that the fall sports season is also coming to a close. The WIU football team has their last regular season game this Saturday against Indiana State at home starting at 1 p.m. Last weekend, the WIU volleyball team finished their season with a win against South Dakota State, giving them a 6-23 record. The WIU women’s soccer team has finished their season with a 5-12-1 record and last Sunday, the WIU men’s soccer team finished their season with a loss in the Summit League Tournament Championship. Despite this loss, the players should be proud of all they have accomplished.

The WIU men’s soccer team ended the season with a 9-7-3 record. Head Coach Eric Johnson explained the team’s biggest success this year. “Our biggest accomplishment was going the entire month of October without losing a game. Not positive, but (I) don’t think we’ve done that before. In doing that, we qualified for the Summit League post-season tournament,” Coach Johnson said.

The Leathernecks worked hard to be ready for every game. Center Back Erick Bloom explained that being a part of the team has made him proud to be a Leatherneck. “It has taught me what a true Leatherneck is, which is hard work, determination, and fighting for one another,” Bloom said. His description of a Leatherneck shows that being a Leatherneck is more than just winning games.

Teammates not only practice together, but they spend most of their free time together as well. They become a family, which makes it very hard when the season ends and the seniors have played their last game. “Being on the men’s soccer team is like having a second family. We fight for each other on and off the field,” Bloom said.

The teammates’ passion for the game can be seen on and off the field. Coach Johnson looks back at a special moment on the field this season. “My favorite memory of the season is difficult because there were some great moments. One was the goal we scored at IUPUI (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis), which tied the game and gave us a point in Indianapolis; that is the first time in my 18 years that we did that. We have many wins at home versus IUPUI, but that is the first time we either tied or won on their field and that point ended up giving us a share of the regular season championship,” Coach Johnson said.

“I am very proud of this team’s accomplishments. We made it to our fourth straight tournament final and really made a game of it despite playing a man down for 85 minutes. Hats off to our senior class for leading this team and being positive role models for our underclassmen,” Coach Johnson said.

It’s always sad saying goodbye to graduating seniors. I can relate to that because one of my closest friends in my sorority graduates at the end of this semester. It is tough knowing she won’t be here anymore, but I remind myself of the reason we all came to college. We come to college to learn so that we can one day get our dream job. I know she will do great in her field and I’m excited for her. It helps when you reminisce about all of the great memories you have had together.

For more information on the WIU men’s soccer team, visit http://www.goleathernecks.com/index.aspx?path=msoc&.

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