Through its first five games of 2005, the UCSD Men’s Soccer team has rolled up a record of 4-1 and allowed a measly two goals against. One of the vital cogs in the Triton defense is senior Kevin Murray, a second team All-CCAA selection last year when he started all 15 games for Coach Derek Armstrong. “Kevin came in as a forward and was converted to a defender,” says Armstrong. “His greatest value is reliability. He gives us great consistency and steadiness in the back. He’s also got that doggedness you like in a player and has turned into a bit of a leader for us.” The 5-8
Q-What’s been responsible for the team’s excellent start this season?
In the past off-season, everyone put in a lot of work—more than in the past—and that’s made a difference. For a lot of us, this could be the last chance we’ll have to play soccer at this high a level.
Q-What was the team’s feeling after suffering its first loss in the CCAA opener last week at Cal State L.A.?
There’s still a long way to go, though. One loss isn’t going to get us down.
Q-Looking at the team’s early season play overall, how would you gauge it’s chances in the CCAA?
Every team is the league is tough so it should be a close race. Last year was very disappointing and is one of the reasons so many people put in so much work in the off-season. There is a real hunger to get back to the post-season again.
Q-Last year’s team narrowly missed the conference championship and NCAA Playoffs. What is the strength of this year’s club and is it capable of being better than last year’s?
It’s not just our defenders but really overall team defense, including our forwards. You won’t find many good soccer teams that don’t have a strong defense.
I think this year’s team is better than last year’s. We have the experience of last season to build on, know what are shortcomings were and where we need to improve. Sometimes we didn’t get properly motivated for easy games and let a couple get away. That’s something we want to avoid this fall.
Q-How important is chemistry on the soccer field?
I think it’s also beneficial that all the players on the team are also friends. We hang out all the time, even in the off-season, we surf together and a number of us are in Sigma Chi Fraternity together. A lot of that transfers over to the field and makes us more cohesive.
Q-Who are the leaders on the field?
Dustin Tannenhaus (junior) is also a pretty motivational-type of guy who can rally the team when it’s needed.
Q-Speaking of the four seniors you came in with, how would you briefly describe each?
Q-What about Kevin Murray? How would you describe yourself?
Q-What have you learned from Derek Armstrong?
He’s very passionate about what he’s doing with us. He pays a lot of attention to details and has a great knowledge of the game.
Q-What do you enjoy most about soccer?
Q-What brought you to UCSD?
I’m going to graduate in June with a degree in psychology. I hope to work somewhere after that and go to business school and get an MBA at some point down the road. I don’t really have any set plans. For awhile, I’m just going to see what the world brings my way.
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