Sophomore Standouts Typify Team Effort
Nov. 15, 2000
|Todd Dunivant &
Wheat Ridge, CO/Portland, ME
Todd Dunivant and Roger Levesque are a microcosm of the number one ranked Stanford Men's Soccer team. Much of what one can say about the two as individuals and teammates can be applied to the entire squad.
Chemistry and teamwork are undoubtedly two keys to the Cardinal's success. In fact, both Dunivant and Levesque stated that team unity has been the most valuable experience taken away thus far from the 2000 season. Todd explained that 'as a team, we are super close. I have never been on any kind of team where we all are on the same page, where everybody understands each other so well, and we all have such a good common goal.' Just as the entire squad holds this common mentality, Dunivant and Levesque are also on the same page, both on and off of the field.
Both players came from very distinguished high school soccer backgrounds. Dunivant played for Dakota Ridge High School in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, where he captained his prep squad to two consecutive undefeated seasons. He also played for the Colorado Rush club team, which he led to four state championships and a Western Regional Title. Levesque attended Falmouth High School in Portland, Maine where he led his squad to the 1996 and 1997 State Championships. He was also a two-time Gatorade Maine Player of the Year. Thus, success and achievement are nothing new to these sophomores.
This season, both players have performed brilliantly. Levesque thus far has six assists and six goals, two of which are game-winners. Dunivant has eight assists, and is an integral part of the stellar Cardinal defense, which boasts a 0.40 goals against average, the lowest in the country.
Todd and Roger came to Stanford in the fall of 1999. Because both are on the soccer team, it may seem only natural that they are friends. However, these two have a bit more in common than just life on the soccer field. Before their first season even began, due to some paperwork mistakes, Todd and Roger were two of six freshmen left out of the squad's trip to Scotland. Both felt that these two weeks which the freshmen spent together allowed them to really bond. This is when their personal friendship started.
As their freshman season progressed, the daily interaction on the field naturally blossomed into a wonderful friendship. Whether the two were having minesweeper battles on the computer, making a ruckus in the dorm with their mini-hoop basketball games, or just relaxing on the weekends or after team events, both enjoyed spending time with the other. Roger would also join Todd daily for lunch at Branner Hall. Levesque claimed this was 'out of convenience,' but he was most likely brought to Branner by the company, not the food. This year, Todd and Roger live together with three other teammates and continue to develop their tight friendship.
Roger Levesque's Stanford Athletics Highlights:
|Ranks fourth on the club this season with 18 points, scoring six goals and adding six assists ... Has game-winning goals in back-to-back home matches versus Santa Clara (10/12) and California (10/15) ... Has provided a spark off the bench, making all 19 of his appearances in relief efforts.|
The common bonds these two share outside of soccer carry over to their attitude on the playing field as well. When talking with Todd and Roger about their personal and team success, one can't help but recognize their humble nature. When discussing his two game-winning goals against Santa Clara and Cal, Roger states that 'I was definitely pretty excited, but in both games we ended up winning 2-0 or 3-0, and so it turned out not to be a big deal. It's definitely up there when you score a couple goals, but the ultimate goal is to win the game and go from there.' Instead of taking credit for his stellar individual achievement, he stressed the importance of the final outcome, not the individual steps along the way.
Likewise, when Todd was asked how his overtime assist against then fourth ranked Indiana ranked among the great moments in his Stanford career. He took no personal credit nor wanted any limelight for his achievement. 'It was more of a relief really, the rest of the game I was awful,' he said with humbleness. 'With the Indiana game, the way that I felt was that I was more happy for my coach.'
Roger added that for the Cardinal veterans, 'it was the same thing [being happy for them]. They have been around for a long time and haven't really beaten those big teams and programs.'
By talking to these two young men, you would never guess that they have been crucial to the Cardinal's success this year. Thus, whether they are stopping their opponent's scoring drives, piling up assists, or netting game winners, individual recognition is secondary. 'We're not worried about who gets the credit,' said Todd. The mark in the win column is what matters most for these boys.
Todd Dunivant's Stanford Athletics Highlights:
|Tied for the team lead with eight assists in 2000 ... Has appeared in 36 of 38 possible matches in his two-year Stanford career ... Scored a goal in a 3-1 win over Oregon State during his freshman season|
The things Dunivant and Levesque had to say about the squad could have come from any player's mouth. Thus, their team-oriented mindset seems very representative of the entire Stanford squad. This unselfish attitude has undoubtedly been crucial to the team unity which has been such a key element in the regular season success for the Cardinal. With a 16-2-1 record and top ranking in the country, having everyone on the same team-oriented page has paid off for the Cardinal.
As the victories have piled up, the men's soccer squad has developed yet another group mentality. 'We believe in ourselves, and that we can do it,' said Roger. 'On any given day [we can] go out and beat any team in the country.' Todd added that we 'have stamped our authority on the game a lot more. We are starting to realize that we should be beating these teams, and we are. It's a change in mentality.'
As the men's soccer team takes this high confidence and team-oriented play into the postseason, success is bound to follow. The Cardinal's first match will be this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. versus Cal State Fullerton at New Maloney Field. Finally, don't be surprised to see a one-two Dunivant assist and Levesque finish for a playoff goal out of these two young men. One shouldn't doubt that this could happen. But at the same time, don't expect either to take credit for their achievements. That just wouldn't be their way or the team's way.
by Chris Curtis