Piper soccer shares achieved goals

Men’s and women’s soccer assess their 2014 season.


Gino Terrell

Senior Gilbert Ghong dribbling the ball against the Augsburg Auggies on Oct. 15 at Pat Paterson Fields.

Gino Terrell, Sports Editor

Two conference wins for both squads doesn’t tell the whole story for the 2014 Piper soccer season, as both teams reached milestones and have senior classes’ leaving behind a legacy.

This year, with the MIAC’s new six team expansion for soccer playoffs, the men’s team was aiming to crack the top six of the MIAC standings. They found themselves in the playoff hunt with three games remaining after a shutout win against Carleton on Oct. 18. Following the win, the Pipers dropped the last three games of the season, two of three on the road, and finished  6-10-2 (2-7-1 MIAC).

“We didn’t go where we wanted to but I think the program made a lot of strides in the right direction. I think it’s something they can build on for next season,” senior men’s soccer forward Gilbert Ghong said.

Al Morawiecki, men’s soccer head coach, said results proved the Pipers was progressing this season.

“[We were] getting results against teams we haven’t in the past six, seven years,” he said.

The Pipers played well at home holding a 5-2-1 record but struggled on the road as they only registered one point with their road record at 0-8-1.

“The next step is just being more consistent and then figuring out how to compete and find results on the road,” Morawiecki said.

As for Piper women’s soccer, the team finished with a winning season at 8-8-2 but struggled in the MIAC with a 2-8-1 conference record. However, Ted Zingman, head coach of women’s soccer, said the team was successful in other categories.

Piper women’s soccer reached the program record for fewest goals allowed in a season. They also defeated regional powerhouse Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the first time in school history in their season opener on Aug. 29. The senior class on the Pipers was the first in school history to record a winning season through all four years and the team averaged a GPA over 3.6.

“We did a lot of great things,” Zingman said. “Our struggle at the end of the year was finding the back of the net…but sometimes that’s the way soccer works. It’s a cruel game in that respect.”

Zingman said it was a combination of things leading to their struggles.

“It was some injuries, some hard luck around way and also ‘hey, we just unfortunately didn’t execute in front of the net,’” Zingman said.

After the Pipers defeated UW-Eau Claire in the opener, they continued to have success against other schools in the WIAC and remained undefeated in that conference. The Pipers cracked the region’s top 10 rankings early in the season, however, they couldn’t transfer that success over to the MIAC.

“That goes to show how strong our conference is,” Zingman said. “Every game is a battle in our conference…and that’s the thing that makes it so fun, there are no easy games. You’ve got to be your best day in and day out.”

Piper men’s soccer can relate as they’ve defeated two conference teams that made the MIAC playoffs but suffered losses to teams ranked below them in the standings.

“When things are even…we have to be comfortable with being the better team,” Morawiecki said. “It’s easy to chase after the big dogs and try to game plan and try to be motivated for those ones, but [it’s] learning how to be comfortable when the pressure is on when you should get the results.”

Ghong said he’s learned a lesson after proving teams wrong in the MIAC with their victories over St. Thomas and Carleton and a tie against Augsburg.

“It doesn’t matter what team you’re playing, what team you play against, what the situation is. It’s all about [the] work put in. You can always come up with the result,” Ghong said.

Ghong has been with the Pipers for two seasons after transferring from Century College and he said he’s glad he’s been a part of the team.

“It’s unbelievable because you get to be a part of something that’s bigger than you,” Ghong said. “You get to be a part of a whole different family, a whole different culture…it’s a good feeling.”

Ghong lead the team with 13 points this season. As he’s leaving, he wants his team to remember what got them those upset victories and go into every game with that mindset.

“Everybody believed from kickoff to the final minute,” Ghong said.

Senior goalkeeper Erin Urbanowicz, the Piper women’s two-year team captain, said she’s proud of the legacy her senior class will leave.

“We all took a chance coming to this school [and] it was cool that we could be a part of a big turnaround for this program,” Urbanowicz said. “We changed the competitive atmosphere, we’ve changed the work ethic, we’ve changed the people who are attracted to this university.”

Urbanowicz said the women’s soccer program has developed her to become a “compassionate leader.” Most of all, she said the relationships she’s built with her teammates takes the cake.

“I’ll never be on the same competitive setting with the teammates I love and I’ve grown relationships with,” Urbanowicz said. “At the end of the day, what you’re going to remember about your season is your teammates.”