Wolves soccer season off to slow start

After lots of talk between JJC’s athletic administration and the NJCAA, the men’s soccer team was able to open its 2021 season.

The Wolves opened the season on a 166-mile road trip to Madison College on Wednesday, April 7. The Wolves ended their 2019 season when they lost 2-1 to the same Madison College team.

Looking to bounce back after that lingering loss, the Wolves wanted some revenge.

That was not the case. Coming out a little sluggish with team chemistry not on the same page, the Wolves once again well short 2-1.

Head coach Cris Trillo noted the overall preparation the team had gone through after the fall season was canceled and they awaited final confirmation on when the season would begin.

“We trained and practiced for about 10 weeks in the fall to get in shape and active,” said Trillo. “It was important to keep everyone motivated for the spring season.”

More than half of Trillo’s 2021 roster is new incoming freshman, which is making the early part of the season a bit of an obstacle to climb.

But they are starting the season with a healthy roster, meaning the Wolves are at full strength.

“We have four returning sophomores from last year,” Trillo said, “but lost some players for various reasons since we started in the fall. We have a healthy number to compete in this abbreviated spring season.”

As each sport has had its fair share of COVID-19 impact one way or another, waiting to play since the end of the 2019 fall season was something Trillo and his players were getting a little impatient for.

“The only negative side we had to deal with was the long period of inactivity we had from November to March,” Trillo said. “On the other hand, we have been practicing together for many months.”

The Wolves’ April 9 game was postponed, meaning the Wolves will next take the field on Wednesday April 14, against Rock Valley College.

In what is a shortened season for the Wolves, only five out the seven North Central Community College Conference teams will be participating.

This leaves the home opener for the Wolves to take place Friday April 16, against Harper College.

Trillo notes that the team has grown over the offseason and will be prepared when adversity hits.

“The team now has to learn from each game on how to improve since we did not have the opportunity to play any games this pre-season,” Trillo said.