“We want to be the team that sets the pace of every game.” Morgantown looks to be a force in AAA soccer

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown boys soccer team hasn’t been able to make a state tournament appearance in the past couple of seasons, but the Mohigans look to change that this year.

Mohigans head coach Sam Snyder enters his seventh season at the helm and with him returns just about as much experience as a team can get. Likely 10 seniors and one junior will make the starting lineup, all of those players have a multitude of varsity experience.

While the Mohigans’ sights are set on heading to the state tournament, there’s a lot that needs to be done before that. Snyder said it starts with setting the tone of every game.

“We really want to bring an intensity that we haven’t brought this year and we want to finish. We’ve had two really great campaigns that just fell flat. So for us this year, we want to be the team that sets the pace of every game,” Snyder said. “We want to finish strong, we want to try and be the first team to score and we want to make sure that we try to score every game in the second half. That’s kind of our personal goals and from there the trophies and the championships will take care of themselves.”

Seniors Vivek Sriram and Domenic Gabriele fight for possession at practice

Snyder looks to his packed roster to set that tone. His seasoned players know how to handle the ball and the Mohigans pride themselves on fast paced transitioning.

“We want to get from defense to offense as fast as possible. We want to try and score within 15 seconds at a time of getting  the ball back. Then when we lose it, we want to transition back and get the ball back in 15 seconds,” Snyder said.

Junior James Percifield fires a shot during practice

The players are motivated, too. As mentioned, Snyder’s crew boasts experience. Players like seniors Vivek Sriram and Caden Carpenter as well as junior James Percifield, among others, are expected to deliver a strong performance each game. After a couple of years of falling just short of a trip to Beckley, they want to finish the job this time around.

“Our motivation has definitely been that the past two seasons we’ve had teams good enough to go to states but we always seemed to fall at the first hurdle. So that’s definitely our goal for this year, make it to states. And that has been our motivation,” Vivek Sriram, a senior on the roster, said.

“We’re known for being very technical and stuff. So basically we need to be tough on the ball and be really strong. That’s why we’ve been lifting at the gym. We just need to be strong on the field and also be mentally there,” Caden Carpenter, a senior on the roster, said.

Snyder mentioned his strong senior class multiple times and said what they bring to the team can’t even be put into words.

“Having them come back and just the composure on the ball is just going to be massive for when we do win it and being able to find our seniors’ feet and just move forward from there,” Snyder said.

Morgantown puts its training to the test at its first competition, which is away at Woodrow Wilson on August 21.

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