O’Donohue Makes the Most of Spring Exhibition Season
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy men’s soccer team recorded a 2-1-2 record in five spring exhibition matches over the last two months. More importantly, however, head coach Tim O’Donohue was able to use the spring season to fully implement his playing system and fitness program.
“This spring was used to put in the system that I want to play going forward and to get the team really fit,” said O’Donohue. “Last fall was a bit of a hybrid of keeping parts of the old system, but also putting in a few things that I wanted to do with the limited time that we had.”
O’Donohue was officially announced as the sixth head coach of the Navy men’s soccer program on July 1, 2016, less than two months before the team’s 2016 fall season opener. O’Donohue did not have the advantage of a spring season last year and the extra time spent with his players this spring allowed him to continue to build relationships and to bond with the team.
“The spring season was a great time to really get to know the guys and bond with them, without having the pressures of winning and losing games like in the fall,” said O’Donohue. “It is very important to build relationships with your players and you need time to do that. I was able to really get to know them and you saw that pay off on the field this spring. They were more in tune with me and how I wanted them to play, and they were more in tune with each other.”
Navy posted wins over George Washington and Villanova this spring, while playing George Mason and Johns Hopkins to 1-1 draws.
The Mids posted an impressive 3-0 win over George Washington, avenging a 1-0 loss to the Colonials last fall. Navy outshot George Washington in the spring, 18-4, after being outshot by a wide margin last fall. Rising sophomore Piroz Bahar and rising seniors Brock Dudley and Daniel Zaremba tallied the three goals for Navy.
“I thought we were very good against George Washington,” said O’Donohue. “We really came into our own in that game. We possessed well and we were very dangerous.”
Navy earned a 1-0 win over Villanova with rising senior Josh Calderon netting the game’s lone goal.
Navy played both George Mason and Johns Hopkins to 1-1 ties. Calderon scored against George Mason and rising junior TJ Powers scored against Johns Hopkins. Navy’s final spring game was a 2-0 loss at Drexel.
“We either outshot or outpossessed our opponent in every game,” said O’Donohue. “We played well and it was exciting. We had the time to put things in and you could see our improvement in the five spring games. We want to use that as a catalyst for the fall.”
Powers, who scored in Navy’s draw with Hopkins, had a breakout spring season. He entered the spring season having played in just four games over his first two seasons at Navy, but was inserted into the starting lineup at right back.
“We gave TJ a shot at right back and he was excellent,” said O’Donohue. “He has really developed and he could make a difference in the fall. He was very good for us.”
Two other players also stood out to the coaching staff after changing positions this spring.
“Aubrey sees the game so well and he can help with the tempo,” said O’Donohue. “Ben played up top with Zaremba and that made a huge difference for us, too. Ben was also very good at setting the tempo.”
O’Donohue also stated that Dudley, a two-time All-Patriot League honoree, had an excellent spring, as did senior goalkeeper Mac Burke. Rising senior Thomas Moore also showed strong improvement at center back.
In addition to the program’s incoming freshman Class of 2021, Navy will return 10 players who saw action in at least 12 matches last fall in Bahar, Burke, Dudley, Jones, Moore, Nicholas, Zaremba, rising senior Dylan Struthers and rising sophomores Andrew Hopkins and Diego Manrique.