The men’s soccer team here at Roosevelt University has just finished up a promising regular season, and have their sights set on making a deep run in the upcoming CCAC postseason tournament.
Roosevelt started their campaign off early, beginning the season in the middle of August with a game against the ranked University of Rio Grande. It was a competitive outing throughout, with the Lakers just falling short by a 2-0 scoreline. They responded well to the loss, and were able to pick up a 1-0 win of their own against Grand View University a week later.
The month of September was a whirlwind, with Roosevelt starting off on the backfoot before bouncing back. The opening contests were all non-conference, and came against sides of undoubted quality. The rigorous stretch started off with an overtime loss against Lindsey Wilson, before falling to both MidAmerica Nazarene University and Grace College before being blown out by Central Methodist.
However, the results turned around in the middle of the month once the Lakers began conference play. The losing run was ended after Roosevelt beat Robert Morris, but they did drop the next contest to Olivet Nazarene. The Lakers ended September well, rattling off two wins against St. Ambrose and Calumet College.
The conclusion of the regular season was tough, with a number of injuries affecting the results on the pitch. Roosevelt were able to pick up big victories against Trinity Christian and St. Francis in October, but have ended the campaign with three losses on the bounce, with the most recent being a heartbreaking defeat in double overtime to 7th ranked Cardinal Stritch University.
Following this up and down regular season, the Lakers have started to get healthy again, and are ready to go after it in the postseason.
“This year has been the most challenging and adverse one I have been a part of here at Roosevelt considering the amount of injuries we have had to deal with throughout,” said senior captain and finance major Oscar Gaytan. “Many key players suffered injuries that caused them to miss many games, with some guys even suffering season-ending knocks. During our regular season, we experienced many peaks and valleys, but we’re starting to get healthy again, and we’re trending in the right direction and heading towards the playoffs where it really matters.”
Roosevelt faces Judson University in the quarterfinals of the CCAC tournament. The Eagles had an impressive campaign themselves, going 10-5-3 in the regular season and won seven out eleven conference games. The two sides have already faced off this year, with Roosevelt falling just short after a late goal from the opposition. The Lakers do believe that they have the ability to advance, and even go all the way in the tourney.
“I think we can win it all,” said Gaytan. “We’re getting healthy at the right time and we’ve proved we can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the country. The team’s united more than ever and we’re hungry to get back to where we belong.”
Recent seasons have seen the men’s soccer program go from strength to strength, and Roosevelt director of athletics John Jaramillo has faith that things will only continue to improve.
“I am proud of the work that Coach Brennan, his staff and our men’s soccer student-athletes have done on and off the field over the past seven seasons. Not only have they grown the expectations of the program, but they constantly display pride in their representation of Roosevelt. I see an approach and growth trajectory as far as coach Graham Brennan’s vision and the Roosevelt men’s soccer team’s place as a model of success and a point of pride for the entire Roosevelt University community,” Jaramillo said.
Name: Oscar Gaytan
Position: Center Midfielder
Hometown: Aurora, IL.
Club Team: Kickers S.C.
Favorite Team: FC Barcelona
Reason for Playing at Roosevelt: “I practiced with the team a few times before committing and I believed in the style of play of the program. The current players were very skilled, and I knew I would be challenged every day in practice. The demographic and style was the same I was accustomed to my entire life as well, so I felt right at home.”