Max Hasenstab, Winthrop’s freshman forward who is a German native, has a little difficulty speaking English at times. He tends to ask fellow players for help on papers and assignments. After a grueling away stretch of two tournaments, travelling through three states to compete in five tightly contested matches to start the 2013 season, Hasenstab learned a vocabulary word fitting for his Eagles team.
“I’ve learned to integrate very well,” he said. “I think (this past month) has brought the team together. We all stay together on team dinners, meetings, all hang out and do training sessions together. It’s tough, but it keeps us all together.”
Six different players scored for Winthrop, which cruised to a 6-0 win Thursday night over Brevard College in the Eagles’ first game back at Eagle Field in a month.
The Eagles (5-0-1) rank among the highest scoring teams in the country with over 2.8 goals per game, thanks to game changers like Habenstab, who scored against the Tornadoes in the 11th minute. His strike – a smart, low laser from 12 yards out – was the fourth goal in the first half for Winthrop over a poor Brevard side, which could steal little possession away from a stingy Eagles defense.
Veteran coach Rich Posipanko is coaching a profoundly different Winthrop team than the one he won the 2012 Big South tournament with last November. Four of his starters have left, including goalkeeper Enrique Miranda and midfield stalwarts Alex Isern and Marc Segarra.
What’s comforting is that four of Winthrop’s six goals came from freshmen (Hasenstab, Jose Mencia) and sophomores (Max Davidson, Patrick Barnes), proving how deep Posipanko’s squad are.
What’s scary is that Posipanko thinks his team can get even better.
“We’re playing well, but we’re a long way off from where we need to be for us to duplicate last season,” he said. “We’re not as consistent as we need to be, we’re not playing as intense every game as we need to, but once that comes, we can be a pretty good team.”
Senior midfielder Adam Brundle, who converted a penalty after just five minutes of play, has another word for it.
“That’s fierce. When you’re unbeaten and that increases with every game, it’s amazing,” he said. “When you’ve got a team that can score with almost every one of its players, you’ve got to be afraid of them.”
The Eagles will have little time to adjust to familiar surroundings. They will be heading off on yet another road trip beginning Sept 25 at UNC Greensboro and continuing Sept. 28 at VMI.
“I think we needed this [home game],” Posipanko said. “We’ve come off of these away games and now we go to (UNC) Greensboro, which isn’t going to be easy there, so this game came at a good time for us.”
The Spartans are 3-3 with wins over Big South Conference foes Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville.
5’ – Adam Brundle (penalty)
7’ – Achille Obougou goal (Josh Choice)
9’ – Patrick Barnes (Obougou, Max Hasenstab)
11’ – Hasenstab (Pietro Bottari)
70’ – Jose Mencia (Nick Nova)
86’ – Max Davidson (Sean Comer)
52’ – Brevard, Ryan McPhillips (yellow)
55’ – Brevard, Ryan Vandenburg (yellow) SHOTS Winthrop, 19; Brevard, 3
CORNERS Winthrop 4; Brevard, 0