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James Doig’s leadership, experience and title hopes are back for a fifth year

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Dylan Fearon

It was a chilly mid-November day.

The Quinnipiac men’s soccer team was jumping up and down, piling on each others backs and celebrating a penalty shootout victory over Monmouth. The Bobcats had just won the 2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament in their inaugural year, punching a ticket to the NCAA tournament against Connecticut.

Fast-forward nearly four years.

Quinnipiac has won two MAAC regular season titles, played in two conference tournament semifinals and appeared in one championship game since that win over Monmouth.

But the Bobcats haven’t been back to NCAA’s.

Conference tournament losses to Fairfield in 2014 and Rider the last two years have stymied Quinnipiac from getting back to the national stage.

However there is still one player on Quinnipiac’s roster that was on that magical 2013 team, which went on a 13-game stretch where it allowed just four goals.

That one player is James Doig.

The fifth year midfielder and captain is back after redshirting in 2015, as a foot injury kept him out for nearly the entire season.

It’s simple. When Doig plays, Quinnipiac wins. When he doesn’t, Quinnipiac struggles.

He was a First Team All-MAAC selection in 2014 and Second Team selection in 2016. When he was out for most of 2015, the Bobcats were one of the worst teams in the MAAC.

Doig has proven he is Quinnipiac’s most valuable player.

“James is a great leader and leads by example,” head coach Eric Da Costa said. “He’s been key for us since the day he walked in. He’s been a mainstay in the lineup. James’ presence was definitely missed in 2015. We’re glad to have him back on the field and glad to give him the opportunity to finish out his college career.”

“I think the experience definitely helps,” Doig, a native of Liverpool, England said. “I’ve played in three full seasons and won a MAAC Tournament and two league titles. That helps. Experience is huge. I’m just happy to be back with the boys and get this started and get this business done.”

Doig’s value and presence was noticed almost immediately by Loyola transfer Griffin Kutzner, who came to Quinnipiac in January.

“Having him back is priceless, really,” Kutzner said. “Just walking in the locker room on my first day, he was so welcoming and great. You get a feel for the locker room and you can tell who guys really respect and that was something you got a sense of from day one. Doig is at the top of that list and guys look to him for leadership and guidance.”

His purpose on the field is just as important: take command of the game, help teammates move forward but also assist on defense, and facilitate.

“I do my best to control what’s going on on the field,” Doig said. “I feel like one of my best skills as a player is knowing the game. I feel like sometimes the game calls me to go forward more or to go help someone on a certain wing. It’s just about knowing the game. If I know I can commit and move and still go back and help if something breaks down, that’s what I’ll do. That’s one my strengths.”

The 2013 team lost to UConn in a thriller in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 2-1. This year, Doig thinks Quinnipiac can get back to NCAA Tournament, and winning a game is not completely far-fetched either.

“The league title is a base,” Doig said. “Get that, and build from there. Hopefully win the tournament and get to NCAA’s and make a run. That’s what we want. That’s what we’re looking for this season.”

But can this Quinnipiac team be one of the best in recent history?

The captain didn’t even think twice.

“Definitely, I’m very confident,” Doig said. “I was last year and I’m looking at the players and I’m feeling more confident. We have a very good team and a lot of potential and good quality and we have lots of leaders.”

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