Practice wasn’t over. There had to be about a half-hour left, but coach Tim O’Sullivan told his guys to just go home.
“He was pissed,” as one player said. “So he just ended it.”
It was the Rams’ first practice since pounding previously ninth-ranked North Carolina 5-2 last Sunday, and O’Sullivan told his assistant coaches that the players should “have their moment, but they can’t just screw around.”
As they strolled off the field in confusion, O’Sullivan told the team that they only have so many practices before they host College of Charleston at Sports Backers Stadium on Friday.
“My only request of everyone in the program,” he said, “is that everyday everyone give their best effort, and I’ll accept whatever happens after that. But if you don’t give your best effort then you’re wasting everyone’s time, and today was a waste of time.”
O’Sullivan said that despite losing 1-0 double overtime to Wake Forest last Friday, his team played well enough to win. Two days later, against the team got a career performance out of Dominic Oduro, whose career has lasted a little more than two weeks.
O’Sullivan said that in the week leading up to the tournament in Chapel Hill, his team worked hard and played competitively, and it paid off.
Oduro lit up UNC for four goals, the second-highest single-game total in school history and the most since John Dugan toasted West Virginia Tech for five goals in the last year of the Reagan administration. Oduro earned player of the week honors from both Soccer America and the Colonial Athletic Association.
“For me both of those results were the product of a very good week of training,” O’Sullivan said.
“I don’t know if it’s just because it’s a young group or an immature group, but just because we have a good performance of one weekend doesn’t make us a good team.”
Aside form the identical 2-2 records, College of Charleston almost mirrors the Rams coming into Friday night’s game. A 2-1 win over Portland in the USC Soccer Classic stopped them from dropping three straight games early in the season, and peppering Bucknell with 19 shots, they could easily be 3-1.
“At this point,” O’Sullivan said. “No one should be taking any team lightly, especially not us.”
By ending the practice early, O’Sullivan said he was sending a message that every time the team takes the field it has to perform well. As far as whether his players will get it, he said, “Hopefully.”