The only thing almost as sweet as an NCAA Division III national championship for the OWU men’s soccer team is the amazingly supportive campus send-off that Coach Jay Martin and his talented team received just prior to their departure from OWU on Tuesday evening.
The bus they stepped into took them to a hotel close to Port Columbus Airport from where, the next morning, they flew to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in the NCAA Division III national semifinal game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST. Their rival at Blossom Soccer Stadium? The Montclair State Red Hawks. At 8 p.m., the Calvin College Knights will play the Red Dragons from Oneonta State in the second semifinal.
At Tuesday’s send-off at Roy Rike Field, President Rock Jones spoke about how well the soccer team has done. “It’s going to be a great weekend!”
Martin echoed that sentiment, adding that while wins are important, so is having fun. “Our team laughs, works—and wins together,” he said. “That is the spirit enabling us to do well, and it is that spirit that will carry us through.”
Several players stepped forward to thank their fans for supporting the team, with hopeful pledges to bring back a trophy. And while the team’s away, the rest of the OWU community—near and far from campus—can read about, watch, and listen to the soccer Bishops’ unfolding story on a new Back the Red & Black website. The site is filled with facts about the team and its coach, video interviews with some of the players, team highlights, and more.
Another important part of the unfolding story has everything to do with team spirit, success, and leadership. Martin, the winningest active coach in men’s college soccer with 606 wins, could reach 608 to become the all-time wins leader in college men’s soccer, with victories in the semifinal and national championship games!
Advancing to the national championship (Go Bishops!), the winners will play at 6:30 p.m. EST the next day. A campus public viewing of Friday’s game will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, and those who want to watch from their homes can stream the action live. If OWU is in the finals, a second viewing party will be held in Ham-Wil at 6:30 p.m. EST Saturday.
“All we have to do is play as best we can, and if we do that, I think that will be enough,” Martin said at the send-off. “And I think we will do that.”