Overcoming obstacles and opponents

This weekend, the Wheaton Men’s Soccer team beat St. Olaf College (Minn.) on Friday Sept. 1, but lost to Loras College on Saturday, Sept. 2.
The first game was a big stepping stone for the Thunder, according to Head Coach Jake DeClude. “I think just getting to the first game was a huge success for this team after Ethan Roser’s death last spring,” DeClude said. “For these guys to get through this summer and step out onto that field again, that was a really brave moment for all of them and I’m super proud of them.”
According to the Wheaton Athletics website, freshman Hasten Biddlecomb became the first freshman goalie to start the season opener for Thunder since 2008.  Biddlecomb had an impressive game, shutting out St. Olaf on Friday.
Sophomore midfielder Will Woodfin scored the first goal of the game when he kicked the ball into a nearly open net after the ball ricocheted off of the St. Olaf goalie barely a minute into the second half.
“Every single guy on the field and on the sideline was giving it their all for God, and also for the Rosers,” Woodfin said. “We really wanted to make this weekend about Ethan, and I believe we did that even if we did lose.”
Sophomore midfielder Peter Whallon and freshman midfielder Shane Kopplin scored the other two goals of the game. Whallon told The Record, “Our greatest success from the weekend was our team took a step in the right direction.”
The next day, the Thunder faced the Duhawks of Loras College, but lost 2-1 in a close, rainy matchup. “We played a good game and there are a few things we are improving on this week, but Loras is a team that has been to the final four three out of the last five years, so that’s a really difficult opponent,” DeClude said.
Woodfin was the only Thunder player to get a shot past Duhawk goalie Jacob Peterson. Biddlecomb started in goal again and made one save. With seven shots on goal, the Thunder had more than double the opportunities to score.
Both Woodfin and Whallon agreed that The Thunder could beat Loras if they met again by being more physical and sticking to their own game plan instead of playing into the Duhawks’ game plan. .
This upcoming weekend the Wheaton men’s soccer team will travel to Tacoma, Wash. to face the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Sept. 8 at   p.m. PDT and Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. PDT.
Going into this weekend’s matchups, Declude said that Puget Sound is a good attacking team and are very fluid and technical with their passing game, and Pacific Lutheran should be just as skilled and physical.
“The team is just focused on growing closer together and getting better everyday. Every win is a boost in confidence, every loss is a learning opportunity,” Whallon said.

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