Attacking midfielder Ahm Kongsuriya and center back Billy Shannon feel they are overdue for a championship.
And the former Hampden Academy teammates are hoping to claim the North Atlantic Conference soccer championship on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when their Husson University Eagles entertain Castleton State (Vt.) at Boucher Field.
Their game will follow the women’s final between Husson and the University of Maine-Farmington scheduled for 11 a.m.
“I haven’t won a championship since I came to this country from Thailand [when he was a freshman at Hampden Academy],” said Konsuriya, who had been a part of championship teams in his native country.
Konsuriya and Shannon appeared on their way to a state Class A championship their senior year when Hampden Academy took a 2-0 lead over Greely of Cumberland Center in 2004. But Greely rallied for a late first-half goal and added two in the second half to triumph 3-2.
They suffered another frustrating loss in the NAC final a year ago, dropping a 2-1 game at Castleton State.
The two friends feel their familiarity with each other is a definite plus on the field.
“We know each other’s strengths and tendencies,” said Shannon. “The only difference now is that he is playing in front of me now instead of next to me.”
Shannon and Kongsuriya were midfielders at Hampden Academy.
“We know what each other is going to do,” agreed Kongsuriya, who has three goals and an assist in 16 games and is the team’s fifth-leading scorer.
This is their sixth year playing soccer together as Shannon, who also plays on the baseball team, didn’t play soccer his first two seasons at Husson.
Kongsuriya will conclude his career this fall but Shannon will have another year of soccer eligibility.
The players know they will have their hands full against a Castleton State team they beat 1-0 on Oct. 12.
But they were encouraged by their 10-0 win over Lyndon State (Vt.) in the semifinals last weekend.
The Eagles had scored only 14 goals in their seven regular season conference games. But they allowed only four goals which is the primary reason they went 7-0.
Shannon said their 14 goals in seven games didn’t reflect the high number of scoring chances they created in those games.
“Scoring 10 goals [last weekend] is a confidence booster,” said Shannon, who has just one assist in 16 games but is a vital component on defense.
“We had some chances early against the [University of Maine-Fort Kent] and if we had finished them, we wouldn’t have lost 3-0,” said Konsuriya, who noted that the same thing occurred in a 3-1 loss to Bowdoin on Oct. 14.
The midfielder said the team is playing “really good soccer lately” and will have to continue to do so against Castleton State.
“It’s going to be a very good game,” predicted Shannon.
If Husson wins, it will earn the men’s soccer program its first berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Husson has been to several NAIA Tournaments.
Kongsuriya likes the idea of being a trendsetter and helping build a bright future for the program.
He said the program has improved significantly in his four years and it is showing in the recruiting.
“We’re getting a lot of good freshmen now,” said Konsuriya.