2002 Soccer Recap
Prepare for Future Under McClements
Tim McClements took over as Vanderbilts mens soccer
coach, he knew there would be some struggles early on. Unfortunately,
McClements finished his first season with a 3-15 overall record,
which included a 1-8 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference;
however, through a difficult season he knows the future of
Vanderbilt soccer will be bright.
Any time a team loses as many games as the mens soccer
team did in 2002, an easy assumption to make would be that
the squad quit playing during the season. This statement would
be the furthest thing from the truth, as despite all the misfortune
the Commodores went through, they didnt give up at any
point during the season.
"It is very easy when you lose that many games for everything
to come unglued, but it didnt happen," McClements
said. "Not to say it wasnt difficult at times,
because losing is always difficult. I think they enjoyed the
training and came out and competed every day. The players
always felt they were consistently getting better throughout
the season. Obviously losing is difficult, but it helps when
they know they are building something for the future."
While competing in the one of the most challenging conferences
in the country, the Vanderbilt mens soccer team struggled
to find its niche this season. The Commodores lost six games
by one goal, which shows they were in a lot of game but werent
able to pick up a win.
A few of Vanderbilts highlights were defeating MVC rival
Evansville on Senior Day, 3-1. The Purple Aces
had owned the Commodores through the years, as they had won
10 of their 12 meetings prior to this years meeting.
One of Vanderbilts best games this season came against
then No. 20-ranked Loyola Marymount at the Vanderbilt/Puma
Soccer Classic. Even though the Commodores lost 1-0, this
was one of their most complete games on both ends of the field.
Since the Vanderbilt game, Loyola Marymount has been the National
Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25.
"Obviously, our results werent what we would have
liked, but we felt like we were playing better soccer and
were able to compete against some of the nationally-ranked
opponents that we played," McClements said. "Most
importantly, I feel the players were able to build a foundation
for the future. I think they have a better understanding of
what it is going to take to be a national contender, along
with the commitment and talent level that is going to be needed."
will lose a great deal of experience heading into next season,
as 10 players will graduate. Senior Nik DeMello will be a
big loss to the offense, as he finished the year with six
goals and two assists for 12 points, which led the squad.
He concluded his career tied for eighth on Vanderbilt all-time
scoring list with 20 goals. DeMello also concluded his career
tied for 10th on the all-time points list with 51.
Junior Jack Hartley chipped in with three goals and one assist
for seven points, which placed him second on team. While the
goalie tandem of Matthew Gotterer and Brad Winter didnt
have as good of year as they have in the past, the two seniors
stilled played major roles in the success the Commodores had
over the last four years.
"I was very fortunate to inherit a group of guys who
were experienced and willing to work hard," he said.
"We worked hard at the beginning of the year changing
our style and structure of play. It is a difficult adaptation
for the players, who had been playing in one system for a
long time, but they did a great job trying to make that transition."
the 2002 season behind him, McClements next duty is to reload
his squad which loses 10 players to graduation. He will have
to fill several holes in the line-up, including the loss of
two goalkeepers, four defenders, two forwards and two defenders.
McClements also realizes he will have to bring in players
that will help make his team competitive at both a conference
and national level.
"Since we are losing 10 players, our main concern is
to recruit players that can get us to that level, and we are
working hard at doing that," he said.
"In order to be competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference,
you have to be good. If you are going to get to the Missouri
Valley Conference Tournament and have the potential to move
on to the NCAA Tournament, you are going to have to win two
games against two strong opponents on a single weekend. You
are not going to beat a Creighton or Southern Methodist on
the same weekend unless you are good. If our goal is to make
the NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the season, then we
have to be good. We have to train and prepare in order to
become good players so we can beat two conference teams on
the same weekend."