Men’s soccer making progress

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MURFREESBORO – Ken Miller made a commitment to Chowan University.

When he was hired as men’s soccer coach three seasons ago, he made it clear he intended to stay until he could build a winner.

While there is work to do, Miller is getting ever so close to keeping that commitment.

Miller has 27 young men in the program and 26 will suit up during the 2008 season, giving his team an advantage they haven’t had in recent years n depth.

“This is by far the best preseason in my three years here,” said junior captain Travis Albea. “We have added 14 new guys so practice has been more competitive and the overall quality of player is better.”

Miller agreed.

“This is the most talented team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” the coach insisted. “I’m not saying that translates to more wins, but it certainly helps with our competitiveness in practice.”

Sophomore Alex Kinnon, the other captain of the squad, said practice wasn’t different as far as what was expected.

“It’s not different in that coach is running us hard just like he always has,” Kinnon said. “What is different is the level of competition. In the past, we didn’t have competition at certain positions, but we do now.”

The team has a list of goals they intend to accomplish this season and one is tripling their win total from last year n hoping to move from two wins to six.

“I think we can do that and maybe more if people just keep working hard,” Kinnon said.

Albea said he was pleased with the way the team was getting along both on and off the field and was looking forward to the games ahead.

“We have high expectations,” he said. “We’re close both on and off the field. If we’re not competitive in every game, we’ll be disappointed.”

Miller said as long as his teams makes progress and continues to push, he’ll be happy.

“It’s hard to put an arbitrary number on wins,” he said. “We chose six because of what we were able to do last year and the talent level we have this year. It doesn’t mean if we don’t win six, it’s not a successful season.

“As long as we keep moving in the right direction, I’ll be satisfied,” he added.

Albea said he felt the program was moving.

“First and foremost, coach has always preached professionalism,” he said. “That has increased dramatically not just in the quality of player, but in equipment, practice field and every aspect.

“My freshman year we had some guys who wouldn’t have made my high school team,” he added. “Now we have 27 guys and can go five or six deep on the bench without losing a step. That’s a huge difference.”

Kinnon, who came to Chowan from Canada, said he was excited to see the difference from his freshman to sophomore year.

“It’s night and day even from last year,’ he said. “We were in so many games, but lost them late. We will be much more competitive this year.”

Miller said having so many players will make it easier for him to go to the bench or replace someone if they are not effective.

“Sometimes they just need a breather and to take a look at what’s going on from the sidelines,” he said. “Sometimes we may need a different player because of what we want to do. Now I have those options.”

Chowan will open the season at Warren-Wilson College Saturday and then travel to Carson-Newman College in Tennessee on Sunday. The Hawks return home for their first game in Murfreesboro at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 3.

In addition to that game, the Hawks have home dates with Catawba College (Oct. 17), USC-Aiken (Sept. 20), Lenoir-Rhyne College (Sept. 27), St. Andrews (Oct. 1), Methodist (Oct. 7), Limestone College (Oct. 11) and Wingate University (Oct. 15).