The following is a 10-minute interview with Head Coach Keith Euker.
Q: The fall and winter seasons showed a lot of positives for the Tigers, what area(s) were you particularly pleased with?
Coach Euker: The first thing that comes to mind is our depth. The talent level of our freshman class this year is very high and we have a lot of guys competing for starting spots, particularly in our offense. Last year we were known as a defensive team; holding the majority of our opponents to no more than 7 goals per game. With most of our defense returning this year, combined with the addition of our offensive talent, we feel that we now have all the pieces to the puzzle.
Q: Compared to last year, the Tigers have a much harder schedule. What is the reasoning behind scheduling harder opponents?
Coach Euker: We want to really test ourselves this year to see where we stand on a national level. Our goal has always been to be the best in the country and you don’t achieve that goal without playing the best in the country.
Q: One game on the schedule sticks out in particular, what are your thoughts on playing the #1-ranked Michigan Wolverines?
I am very excited about the opportunity to play Michigan, and I am grateful to Coach John Paul for agreeing to include us in their schedule this year. It will give us a chance to see where we measure up against the best of the best. Michigan has only lost 2 games in 3 years, and they hold 3 consecutive national championships. There’s a lot of well-deserved swagger that comes with that so I’m interested in seeing how our guys handle it from a mental standpoint.
Q: You have had the fall/winter session to get a feel for your team. What are you thoughts on the talent level and the possibilities for the Tigers this year?
Coach Euker: We have a lot of talent this year but at the same time we are a young team. Because of that we have to focus on shortening our learning curve. If we can get our knowledge-base and mental edge up to where our talent level is, than we should be able to compete at a high level.
Q: The Tigers were really involved in helping their surrounding community last year. Do you plan on continuing this and if so what other plans do the Tigers have for helping their community?
Coach Euker: This is something that is very important to our program. As the University of Missouri, we represent the entire State of Missouri. Thus, we will be increasing our community service this year as well as our footprint of service by expanding beyond just Columbia. We are looking at visiting some children’s hospitals as well as some homes for underprivileged boys and girls.
Q: With the splitting of the GRLC into north and south subdivisions, how do you feel that affects the Tigers?
Coach Euker: I think it’s good for our program as well as the conference as a whole. It opens up our schedule to play some out-of-conference teams that we traditionally wouldn’t face. While out-of-conference games obviously don’t count towards our conference record, OOC games provide great opportunities for us to see how we stack up nationally.
Q: Lastly, what is your expectation or prediction for this upcoming season? Does the team have a set goal they would like to achieve?
Coach Euker: Yes, our goal every year is to win a national championship. I’ve never been part of an athletic organization where that wasn’t the singular goal from day-one of every person involved. And as far as predictions go…we’ll see how the season unfolds.