A Dream Fulfilled
On Tuesday, October 31, Cairn Men’s Soccer lost in the CSAC quarterfinals to Centenary University, 4-2. Now, while many will look at this without more than a blink of an eye, there is a lot more to this historic matchup.
The most noteworthy aspect of the game was it was the first time in school history that the soccer team qualified for the CSAC playoffs. Few people understand the amount of hard work, ferocious recruiting, and devotion to the team that is required to make this happen. The CSAC boasts some of the top teams in the area, such as Cabrini and Neuman, and the Highlanders even defeated the Neumann Knights in order to secure the 6 seed in the playoffs.
Just three years ago, Cairn University Men’s soccer garnered a record of 2-13-1, including a 1-8 record in the CSAC. This year, Cairn mustered a record of 9-9 to go along with their CSAC playoff birth. Think for a second about how difficult it is to accomplish that in such a short period of time, going from the bottom dwellers of the conference to contending for a conference championship within 3 years is absolutely astounding. It all starts with Head Coach Luke Gibson who has instilled core values in this team that allowed them to make the jump so fast.
The recruiting class of 2015 is one of the main reasons for the leap into the playoffs. Players such as Joey Weaver and Paul Franco have bolstered the offense up front, while Tyler Smith has anchored a strong backend for the Highlanders. While those players have been exceptional, it might just be the underclassmen who have had the largest impact, with players such as Brendan Keller (who was robbed of a 1st team all CSAC selection) and Brett Kikendall have shifted the offense from predictable, to shifty and hard to stop. Nonetheless, each player on this team is responsible for the playoff birth, they have struggled together and succeeded together. Cairn Men’s Soccer has lived by the motto “11 as 1” and certainly after this season have mustered the “1” thing they were striving for, a CSAC playoff birth.