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Since Day 1, a focus on excellence for Penmen
"We hung that picture up during the pre-season and it's the first thing we see every time we enter our locker room," said former Manchester Central standout Yannick Kabala, now a junior midfielder for the Penmen. "It's served us throughout the year as a reminder of the feeling we had last year after losing to Mercyhurst."
The win clinched a berth to the NCAA Division II men's soccer championship, which begins Thursday at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.
"I thought we played very good for most of that game," said Kabala. "To leave that field losing to them just was very hard to accept. So we hung the picture and it has served as a motivational tool for us. I can tell you now that after we beat LIU Post (for the East Region final) we were hoping Mercyhurst would win its region so we could face them on their home field. We wanted to play them again."
"This is my third year here and during my first two years we fell short, losing to Franklin Pierce my freshman season and last year to Mercyhurst," said Kabala. "We're not happy or satisfied about anything because we haven't won the one thing we've played for all year and that's the national title. That's our goal, to be national champions."
"I remember we were losing 1-0 to LIU Post (in the East Region finals) and I looked into everyone's eyes on the field after they scored," said Kabala. "I didn't see anyone scared or act like we were going to lose the game. Everyone was calm and we came back to win. What I love about our team is we're confident we're going to win every game every time we take the field. It's a good feeling to have when you take the field."