Freshman Alex Tolman (Photo by Sean Sullivan)

by Christian Redl

Only in the past decade has athletics become a bigger priority as part of the college experience at Mount Saint Mary College. There have been renovations to the Kaplan Center, and other additions to help athletics flourish. One program in particular has improved by leaps and bounds.

Two years ago, Kevin Longacre was hired as head coach of the men’s soccer program with the intention of turning a struggling team into a winner, and attracting prospective students in the process. In his first season at the Mount, the men’s soccer team reached the Skyline Conference semi-finals, a feat rarely accomplished by the team.

The 2012 season has been nothing short of groundbreaking. For the first time in the school’s history, Longacre has led his side to the Conference Finals. Emphasizing a more tactical approach to the game, he has taken the team to a much higher level, implementing tactics and strategies often used by professional-level managers.

This season has not been without its setbacks, however.  The team has had to overcome challenges thrown at them during the year. Injuries to key players have forced a number of freshmen and underclassmen to step up and play in roles they have not been accustomed to, many baptized by fire in the process.

For the men’s soccer team, this season has undoubtedly been a Cinderella story to outsiders who initially ranked them in the bottom of the Conference. They have risen to the challenge, reaching the Skyline Conference Finals for the first time in school history. This season’s success should help build upon an already growing program and attract the attention of other schools and prospective students alike.