Men’s soccer rolls past Ripon 5-0

Peter Sills, sillspet@grinnell.edu

Men’s soccer won its second conference game of the season with a dominant 5-0 victory over Ripon College last Saturday at Springer Field. They unleashed 21 shots throughout the game, four of which found back of the net in the first half alone. The Pioneers are now 4-5 on the season.

Head coach Brian Jaworski credited the success on offense with a new formation that features four strikers instead of the normal amount of three.

“In the past, we needed five or six passes to get the ball up the field. Now we’re getting the ball up the field quicker and easier, we’re maintaining possession in better spots and we’re stretching the opponents wide for angles and avenues to pass and dribble through,” he said.

The Pioneers were hungry for a win after losing a close game to their rivals, Knox College a week earlier. With no games scheduled during the week, the Pioneers had ample time to tune their game in preparation for Ripon.

“It was nice not to play a game for a week,” said Michael Hurley ’16. “It was really nice to get back to basics. We were more confident coming into the game.”

Ambar Kakkar ’16, a striker, also found that practice, specifically the fitness training, makes a big difference come game time.

“We focused on stamina. We have the biggest Division III field so we can tire people out,” he said.

Antonio DiMarco ’18 battles for control of the ball versus Ripon last Saturday. In the game, DiMarco took three shots on goal.  Photo by Minh Tran.

Antonio DiMarco ’18 battles for control of the ball versus Ripon last Saturday. In the game, DiMarco took three shots on goal.
Photo by Minh Tran.

In preparation for their upcoming weekend matches, Lake Forest College on Saturday and Carroll College on Sunday, the Pioneers have worked on fitness and ball drills for the better part of the week, only scrimmaging Thursday and Friday.

“There’s a big emphasis on fitness because you don’t need the most talent as long as you’re the hardest working,” Kakkar said.

Coach Jaworski is the first to recognize Lake Forest’s immense talent. In their last match, they challenged the undefeated, fifth-ranked team in the Conference, University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. The Pioneers will have to bring a strong defensive game against Lake Forest, an offensive powerhouse.

“Lake Forest is gonna get 19 shots, because Whitewater gave them 19 and they haven’t lost a game,” Jaworski said. “Lake Forest has good defenders, but I think we can score on them.”

No matter how well-designed offensive or defensive tactics are, they require strong teamwork to execute. Jaworksi has excelled at this, bringing the team together and treating his players like a family rather than a bunch of sweaty athletes.

“As an international student my family can never come to games, so it feels great to go to Jaws’ barbeques and feel like a family with the team. So props to the Jaws family,” Kakkar said.

Just like how Jaworksi has seen great change in Kakkar’s soccer game, Kakkar has seen change in Jaworksi’s coaching.

“He’s changed a lot, he’s way more positive this year,” Kakkar said. “He doesn’t drop his hat on the floor like he used to.”

Fans can catch the Pioneers at Springer Field in action versus Lake Forest 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and versus Carroll 1:30 p.m. Sunday.