Anchoring a defense that ranked fifth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in goals against average with 1.44, redshirt senior defender Patrick Sullivan helped guide the men’s soccer team to a 5-10-3 record this past season.
Although The Rock offense struggled for the better part of the season averaging just 1.111 goals a game, team defense was key for the Green and White as they allowed just 82 opponent shots on goal in the 2017 season, on 189 shot attempts, both ranking fourth lowest in the PSAC. Being the oldest member of the team this past season, Sullivan says he it was interesting getting to see the younger players develop.
“It’s definitely a little weird being the older guy on the team,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely cool to see the freshman come in and see how much they progress and grow and it’s cool to reflect and realize that you were in their shoes once.”
Sullivan was able to notch the only goal of a 2-1 loss at Salem International University (8-7-2) which would be his only score of the season off of four shots on goal off nine attempts. The Rock defense held five teams without goals this season, including a 0-0 tie against Gannon University (11-7-1).
A Pine Richland High School graduate from Gibsonia, Pa., Sullivan lettered four times in both basketball and soccer. Sullivan first attended Duquesne University for two seasons before coming to The Rock in 2015 and starting 17 of 18 games and grabbing two assists in his first year in Green and White.
“I decided to transfer because overall I wasn’t too happy there. It wasn’t so much the soccer part, I actually got along with the guys really well, but I just wasn’t happy there and I needed a change,” Sullivan said.
For Sullivan and the rest of the team, academics are seen as priority number one over soccer and it has shown, as the team earned the United Soccer Coaches (USC) Team Academic Award for their outstanding work in the classroom for the 2016-17 school year. The freshman on the team get involved in ‘study tables’ and you have to get a certain GPA to get out of them which helps a lot Sullivan said.
“We sometimes will set aside 30 minutes to do homework on the bus,” Sullivan said. “You kinda just have to have good time management and make some sacrifices, but after freshman year you get used to it and it’s not too bad.”
In his senior year Sullivan, a sport management major, will complete his internship in the spring and then possibly become a graduate assistant at some school to hopefully get into college coaching and go from there. Sullivan mentioned his dream job would be the head coach of a soccer team such as Slippery Rock or even a Division I school of some kind.
“Stick with it, especially on the athletic side it can be tough at times, but you gotta stick with it and if you love the game it’ll be fun and just enjoy it because it goes by so quick,” Sullivan said.