SHERIDAN — Sheridan College men’s soccer team took the field for the first time this season Wednesday against a four-year program opponent in Rocky Mountain College, providing multiple challenges for the Generals.
Injuries to a few players left the Generals with only one sub for the game, and at times no subs, while their opponents had a deep bench. The players on the Sheridan team have been playing together for about a week and a half before the scrimmage; Rocky Mountain had players with two seasons of chemistry built up.
Sheridan faced these challenges head-on, playing tough against the larger school and team. Head coach Mallery Hammer was impressed by what she saw from her team.
“Our staff was just wowed by the men’s effort,” Hammer said. “I do not know if I have seen a group of athletes work that hard collectively so soon in the season. We finished the game with one sub only. Their group effort was unbelievable.”
The Generals unofficially lost the game 2-0 with Rocky Mountain scoring its second goal late in the game, Sheridan College freshman Garrett Cole said. The Generals had plenty of opportunities to score but were not able to capitalize on them. It was a game the team felt they could have won, Cole said.
Hammer felt her team dominated possession in the second half, playing most of the game on the attacking side of the field, only allowing Rocky Mountain to have the ball in the Generals defensive half three or four times.
With some starters sitting out due to injuries, Hammer played freshman in key positions across the field, throwing the green players right into the action.
“We had guys come in and step up to fill in holes right away,” Hammer said. “It is encouraging, it shows we have more options than we originally thought.”
Cole received his first experience of what a college game looked like.
“In high school, I felt like an alpha, I was able to control the game,” Cole said.
During the scrimmage, Cole said he felt small compared to other players, but knows he will be called upon in the season to play key minutes for the Generals.
Tanner Smith received his first college experience also and was able to see the differences between college and high school.
“It was exciting,” Smith said. “It was a lot different than high school because it is a lot more fast-paced and physical.”
Hammer said as a team the Generals showed signs of having strong chemistry.
“There were some jitters for the first five or 10 minutes, just trying to sort things out,” Hammer said.
“As soon as they realized, ‘Oh we can play with these guys,’ then they did and exceeded it.”
Hammer said she saw a good combination of passes to set up the attack, showing the chemistry between the players and allowing for the scoring opportunities.
The combined team effort of the Generals provides Hammer with a solid foundation to build and confidence for the team moving forward.
“We left the field thinking, ‘Oh wow if this is the first level and we are going to go up from here, then it is going to be a good season,’” Hammer said.
Hammer played Cole and Smith in the middle of the field, a tough position to play when facing a good team.
“In a game with a lot of great performances it is hard to pick the best of the best, but in games like that, when you are up against a talented team and a team with a lot more depth than you, it puts a big strain on the center and center midfield,” Hammer said. “Those were our two guys in there in those positions and they did incredibly well up against that test.”
As the season-opener against Southern College of Nevada Aug. 24 in Sheridan inches closer, Hammer plans on improving the set pieces and making sure the team finishes scoring opportunities when they present themselves.