UNCW locked in for finale vs. Northeastern

Seahawks hope to end season with a win before CAA tournament

Hjalmar+Ekdal+handles+the+ball+during+UNCW%27s+2-1+win+over+Elon+on+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+27.
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UNCW locked in for finale vs. Northeastern

Hjalmar Ekdal handles the ball during UNCW's 2-1 win over Elon on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Hjalmar Ekdal handles the ball during UNCW's 2-1 win over Elon on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Hjalmar Ekdal handles the ball during UNCW's 2-1 win over Elon on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Hjalmar Ekdal handles the ball during UNCW's 2-1 win over Elon on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Lanre Badmus, Staff Writer

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UNC Wilmington’s men’s soccer team has had a rough recent stretch after starting the season soaring out of the gates. Now, the Seahawks will try to rectify the mistakes of the last few weeks in the regular season finale against Northeastern on Saturday night at UNCW Soccer Stadium.

UNCW (9-6 overall, 4-3 CAA) had a strong start to the season, going 9-2 in their first 11 games and were nationally-ranked for much of the season. However, it now finds itself having lost four straight games and are now fourth in the CAA entering Saturday’s regular-season finale against the Huskies (3-11-3 overall, 1-5-1 CAA). Despite the losing streak, the team has clinched a CAA tournament berth.

Midfielders Phillip Goodrum and David Lozano spoke about the importance of staying focused during tough and trying times like these, when minds start to wander back to a time when things were clicking more often.

“We go through little bumps in the road like we are now, I think it’s important to be a leader and bring the team together,” said Goodrum, whose six goals lead the Seahawks this season. “It’s time to focus all in on the ultimate goal, which is to win the CAA championship.”

“We just need to get back to doing the little things that we did at the beginning of the season,” said Lozano, a junior currently with four goals and two assists on the season. “Especially at the start, we were very disciplined in defending, but in this little stretch we haven’t been as disciplined.”

Both players acknowledged the tendency to look back on certain plays or sequences that impacted the results of games but choose instead to move forward and look to conquer what lies ahead, starting with Saturday night’s game. The Seahawks would finish second in the conference with a win.

“We’re all just focused on this game on Saturday,” Lozano said. “We’re all trying to not get ahead of ourselves because if we do get ahead of ourselves we can go through a rough patch. We’re just focused on getting a result on Saturday, then if that happens we can look ahead.”

While admitting that it is difficult to end the season with a losing streak after performing well earlier in the year with, Seahawks head coach Aidan Heaney also decided to look to the many bright spots as a motivation factor.

“It appears doom and gloom because we started off so well, but there are a lot of positives,” Heaney said. “We know that the league is what really matters and if we grab a win on Saturday then everyone will be feeling good.”

Heaney mentioned that the team has had mental lapses in crucial moments which would sometimes lead to losses in otherwise winnable situations. He has said that he will look to tweak his approach for Saturday’s game but won’t tinker too much with his lineup overall. He has the confidence in his players to get the results they need going forward and has set his sights on winning the conference tournament.

Staff Writer Lanre Badmus can be found on Twitter @LonnyBadmon. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.com. For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.