Several years ago, a Davis & Elkins College alumni gave me some advice.
He told me to watch out for the D&E men's soccer team in the next couple of seasons.
The elderly gentleman knew a thing or two about soccer, so I listened and told him I hoped he was right because the athletic programs at D&E needed a spark.
Soccer was a sport that once dominated the scene at the school, winning NAIA National titles in 1968 and 1970, so it's been refreshing to see the results current coach Mark Stollsteimer's squad has produced the past two seasons.
D&E is once again a force in the WVIAC. The Senators won last year's regular-season title and the favorite to repeat in 2008.
"A lot of the credit has to go to the school for making a commitment to the athletic programs," Stollsteimer said. "We're bringing in outstanding student-athletes and it makes it a lot easier to recruit when you're having success."
Stollsteimer is the last to take credit for the recent success. But he's stayed around for the good and the bad since taking over the head coaching reigns in 1997.
His energy and dedication to the program is something you don't see much of in today's athletic climate, where coaches are lured away to bigger jobs if they're successful or shown the door for failing to produce a winner.
"There's been some tough times,"?Stollsteimer said. "But we're still here and I've gotten great support from the school, alumni and community."
The Senators have once again gained respect on the national level as well, being ranked 10th in this week's Division II poll.
"The kids have done a great job of handling the success," Stollsteimer said. "We have a veteran group of players and they're taking it in stride. They know they have to continue to work hard and expect the best shot from our opponents.
"I think a lot of respect we're getting is because of last year's success, so we still have a lot to prove this season."
The 2008 version of the Senators feature a hard-nosed defense that plays with great sportsmanship, something the legends that once donned the maroon and white would respect.
The Senators face their biggest test to date on Sunday at Atlantic Region rival and No. 4-ranked East Stroudsburg (Pa.).
"It should be a great battle of two good teams,"?Stollsteimer said. "I compare it to two heavyweights going at it."