Soccer is a sport of a communication and teamwork. You can’t possibly hope to score without the help of your teammates. There is no ball involved in cross country, you rely on strength and endurance to get your best personal time in order to help the team as a whole. These two sports are completely different, but have one thing in common; their reason for success. Both teams credit the success of their 2017 season to their team chemistry and how each team is like a family more than anything else.
The men’s soccer team is in the midst of a 11-game unbeaten streak, and they maintained a shutout streak of 842 consecutive minutes before it was broken by Hawaii Pacific on Monday.
The women’s cross country team has placed in the top five in each of their last five tournaments and most recently took third at the Vanguard Invitational with 62 points.
While each team is finding success in different ways, the root of that success is brought about by the closeness within the teams.
Senior runner Brielle Budroe says the cross country team hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of how talented they are, but even so acknowledges their success and credits it to the team chemistry.
“We are successful because we run for each other…I think the tight knit culture that we have on our team is something we’ve really made a priority. One thing that makes the team this year particularly unique is that we make an effort to get together and hangout as a team. We definitely cultivated a team where we feel like we’re all like sisters. Even when we are facing challenges, we still have our team chemistry to lean back on,” said Budroe.
Senior Midfielder Eduardo Gallardo also credits the chemistry of the men’s soccer team as a reason for why they have had such success this season. “A big part of it is this family aspect, we meet up a week before training camp to get to know each other and hangout…The main thing is that every guy on the team does their part and protects each other because we see each other as brothers.”
Because of the familial bond these teams have, it allows the teammates to be honest and hold each other accountable for daily responsibilities. An example of this is making sure that each person is taking care of their body the way that they should be, whether that means going in to see the trainer regularly, or staying on top of workouts.
“I definitely think that this season we’ve all been holding each other accountable for doing our extra two-a-days on our weights. Because we don’t have a set schedule for them like other teams do, it is easy to get off track but this season I’ve definitely seen girls wanting to improve and that is making a difference,” said senior runner Jessica Kroeckel.
Junior defender Jacob Skattner also believes that making sure to stay healthy is a big part of his team’s success. “Personally, I always come in half an hour early to stretch and if I feel a sore muscle, I go see the trainer right away. As a team, we take care of our bodies by not going as hard in practice the day before a game.”
The PLNU men’s soccer team is ranked in the top 10 nationally for shutout percentage,
save percentage, and goals against average and stand in third in the PacWest conference.
Gallardo says the team’s deep bench allows them to have the diversity that other teams don’t. “We know that any one guy can come in and fill the spot and job that the other person is doing if someone gets injured.”
The women’s cross country team is coming off a career-best finish for all 10 of the Sea Lion runners that participated in the Vanguard Invitational, which was their final meet before the PacWest Championships on Oct. 21. Kroeckel believes that the team’s chemistry has played a pivotal role for the success of each runner individually, but also for the success of the team as a whole. “I think we have a great support system within each other, all of the girls on are team are like sisters and I think without that bond, our team wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Even though each sport is different, their success is coming from the same place. The PLNU women’s cross-country team and men’s soccer team are both proof that strong team chemistry leads to success.