Littlefield converts chances
For a game that didn’t mean anything in the standings, Coastal Carolina’s 2-0 loss in the preseason to Furman still gave Mike Littlefield (Osbourn Park ’01) plenty to think about.
In particular, the sophomore forward wanted to find a better way to improve the Chanticleers’ offense. Coastal Carolina outshot the Paladins, but struggled to finish its scoring chances.
“We came out and for a week straight we worked on finishing,” Littlefield said. “It was not a significant preseason game, but as a team we knew what we had to do. And we went out and worked on it.”
It’s clear Littlefield did not waste his time. In six games, Littlefield has already scored more goals (eight) than he did in 21 games last season (six).
Along the way, he has been named the Big South Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Week for the last two weeks, while earning MVP honors from two tournaments.
He received his most recent awards after last weekend when he scored four goals in two games at the Stihl Soccer Classic in Norfolk.
Littlefield had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-2 win over William & Mary and then added two more in a 4-0 win over Old Dominion.
“I have that mentality where when I’m going out there, I feel confident,” Littlefield said.
Littlefield said he and fellow forward Joseph Ngwenya have developed a good relationship upfront. Ngwenya, who has five assists and is tied with Littlefield for the team lead in points (17), has been Littlefield’s main set-up person.
The combination reminded Littlefield of his time with Travis Tucker when the two played at Osbourn Park.
“We just have a good feel for each other,” Littlefield said. Littlefield’s game also took off following his summer playing with his club team, the PWSI United. Littlefield’s biggest strength upfront has been how good he is in the air (six of his goals this season have come off headers), but he wanted to be effective in other areas, too.
“I worked on running with the ball and getting touches,” Littlefield said. “I think it has made me more of a threat.”
Coastal Carolina coach Shaun Docking has seen that.
“He’s a good leader,” Docking said. “He’s so competitive. He wants to win.”
The Chanticleers (5-0-1), who are ranked eighth in the South Region, compete this weekend in the Kentucky Invitational. Coastal Carolina will play Marshall today and then 22nd-ranked Kentucky on Sunday.
Teammate Ryan Johnson (Woodbridge ’01) continues to recover from major knee surgery he had last year.
“He’s just getting back from that, but we expect him to be a major contributor,” Docking said.
Richmond wide receiver Boyd Ouden (Hylton ’99) ranks ninth in Division I-AA in receiving yards per game (104.0). Ouden has eight receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns for the Spiders.
On Sept. 7, Ouden had career highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yardage (162) in Richmond’s win over nationally ranked Delaware.
He has also caught a touchdown pass in four straight games going into the Spiders’ game Saturday against Furman.
David Fawcett’s They’re In College Now column appears Fridays in the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8052 or at [email protected]