Men’s Soccer Team Extends Streak to Three
The men’s soccer team improved their record to 5-4-1 this past Wednesday night with a 3-0 win at Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.). This win marks the team’s third consecutive win and improves their record to above .500 for the first time this season.
The Eagles opened the game with a quick goal in the 12th minute as sophomore forward Dylan Price scored off a rebound from junior forward Andrew Jones’ shot.
That goal marked Price’s fifth goal in the past three games and his eighth goal on the season.
“He’s playing with more confidence than he did last season,” Head Coach Sonny Travis said. “He’s reading the game better and he will get better and better because of his incredible work habits.”
The Eagles continued to show their strength in the second half, bombarding Sewanee with 14 shots, two of which led to goals. Senior Alex Scott scored an unassisted goal in the 54th minute which was immediately followed up eight minutes later by a goal from sophomore Carl Credle in the 62nd minute.
The offensive talent of the men’s team was on full display in the win, as they shot the ball a total 24 times, 12 of which were on goal, in addition to 10 corner kicks, seven of which were in the second half.
The team’s offense has been on a roll over their three game winning streak,, scoring a total of 12 over that stretch.
“Senior Andrew Natalino and Price have been working very well together to give us two dynamic forwards,” noted Travis.
Travis continued to explain how Natalino’s shift from attacking midfielder to forward strengthens the team’s offensive ability and allows them to create a greater threat to opposing defenses.
Natalino and Price have been working off of each other since Natalino’s position change, and each has put up eight goals this season. This game against Sewanee marked the fifth time this season that the Eagles offense has scored three or more goals in a match.
Much of this change in scoring can also be credited to the team’s strategic change with regards to pace of the game.
“We have put a greater emphasis on re-starts and attacking in the final third in practice,” Travis noted. “Scoring is the hardest part in soccer, and it does take time to develop.”
Despite the team’s slow 2-4-1 start, the team’s defense has strengthened significantly and has allowed zero goals over the course of the past three wins as compared to the nine goals allowed during their four losses.
During this three game winning span, the defense has allowed a combined 19 shots (the majority of which were not on goal).
Starting defenders for the Sewanee game included sophomore Noah Rosen, Scott, sophomore Jeffrey Cochran and freshman Matt Sherr. The four combined to allow for only one shot allowed on goal.
“We’ve been playing with more focus and have increased our communication,” Rosen said. “Our team is really starting to click and work together as a unit.”
Freshman goalkeeper Abe Hannigan has also been an important part of the Eagles’ winning streak. Though Hannigan hasn’t been tested much in this span, he has maintained a save percentage of .857 on the season, with a personal record of 3-1.
With the season more than halfway through, the team hopes that its high scoring and defensive strength will take them into the playoffs.
“We hope to be in the NCAA national tournament and win the University Athletic Association (UAA) Conference,” Rosen said. “We definitely have the ability to do both this season.”
The Eagles will next take the field this weekend in their UAA opener, facing the University of Chicago (Ill.) Maroons for homecoming Saturday afternoon.
— By Adam Troyetsky