Year in and year out, the Ohio Wesleyan Men’s Soccer program is a strong contender for national titles, with two already under their belt.
Ran by Jay Martin, the “winningest” coach in any NCAA division history at over 600 wins, the Bishops have enjoyed constant success and two national championships.
Big expectations follow this kind of success. The players expect to be extremely competitive and win not only the NCAC, but also the national title. For a team customarily ranked top 10 in NCAA Division III, starting the season ranked eighth is nothing new.
“We know how much pressure there is on us,” said junior midfielder Ricardo Balmaceda.
“But that’s why we come here, to this program. We like it.”
Martin’s Bishops went 18-0-2 last year, the sixth undefeated season in OWU Men’s Soccer history. However, after getting a bye in the first round, the Bishops were defeated at home by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin’ Engineers.
“It was crazy when they lost last year,” said Lindsay Reed, a senior forward for the Women’s Soccer team.
“They outshot Rose-Hulman by like 30, it was really frustrating.”
The spirits couldn’t be higher in the locker-room at the Jay Martin Soccer Complex. Last year’s defeat has been forgotten, and the team is looking to make a deep tournament run once again.
“I think they’ll be as good as they want to be,” said Martin of his players. “We always have great players. It will come down to being mentally tough and having fun.”
After a heartbreaking overtime loss at Calvin College on opening night, the Bishops have bounced back with three consecutive victories, with two shutouts and six goals scored. This includes a 2-1 overtime victory at Hope College.
“It was tough at Calvin, it was raining and we had a couple of players cramp up,” Balmaceda said. “We were a lot looser at Hope. We had fun, and we won as a result.”
This past weekend the Bishops recorded two 2-0 victories, against Mary Washington University and Guilford College, respectively.