Game day preview: CWRU
Case Western Reserve University’s offense has had the upper hand on the field this season. The team’s 6-3-3 overall record its based on showcases by the Spartan offense. The main factor that led to this record is CWRU’s remarkable shots-per-game average and their total attempted shots. CWRU averages 14.3 shots per game, a total of 172 shots which is fifth in the UAA. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the problem comes in converting those shots to goals. Averaging 1.33 goals per game, last in the UAA, the Spartans will need to play an aggressive offensive in order to get on the board. Striker Vinny Bell is tops on the team with five goals and one assist, Bell’s 3.42 shots per game is second in the UAA. Midfielder Jordan Fox is second in goals scored with four, along with and one assist.
The Spartans have held their opponents to only 12 total goals, for a goal per game average of just 1.00. They have kept their opponents shots per game to 10.7, allowing for the offense to create more opportunities then their counterparts. Though the Spartans come out a little aggressive in the beginning, with 73 fouls to 61 in the first half of games this season, they have been able to draw a total of 147 fouls. Leading the Spartan defense is goalie Ben Yabrow who has gone 5-3-3 with 36 saves. Yabrow’s averaging 3 saves per game which is fourth in the UAA and he’s ability to hold the goal line will be crucial in conference play for CWRU.
In his seventh season with the CWRU Spartans, Head Coach Dan Palmer has led the team through six great seasons so far. With a career record at Case of 60-41-12, Palmer has brought the Spartans to a top-20 national ranking in three of the past four seasons. In 2006, Palmer led the team to a 17-2-2 record, the school’s first UAA championship title, and a birth at the NCAA tournament. This earned him the honor of being named the UAA Coach of the Year. In 2007, the Spartans achieved another a high ranking, starting at 2nd and ending at 22nd. Palmer has the experience in the UAA to help mature this young team and push for the conference crown.
Last Week Recap:
This last Wednesday, Oct. 6, the Spartans took on Penn State Behrend University, winning 4-2. Ross Twanmoh, Jordan Fox, Vinny Bell, and Niro Wimalasena all scored for the Spartans. Defender and captain Wimalasena scored his first career goal off a set piece in the first half. On Saturday, Oct. 9, the team was dealt a hard shutout loss by conference rival New York University, 2-0. Kyle Green and Paolo Luciano, two of the UAA’s leading scorers, tipped the scales in NYU’s favor.
Player to Watch:
Sophomore midfielder Ross Twanmoh. Scoring his first collegiate goal Penn State Behrend, he should be building more confidence and momentum on the offensive end of the field. He looks to be an aggressive player for the team this weekend. Look also for fellow classman, midfielder Eric Erb to assist his teammates. Erb leads the team so far with four assists.
Can the Spartans draw first blood?
Absolutely, the Spartans have a prime striker in frontman Vinny Bell and midfielders who can create opportunities in front of the net. Forward Rene Silva has a nose for the ball and can punch through any crosses that come into from the wing.
3 Keys to a Spartan Victory:
1) Top Shelf: The Spartans need to keep their shots up high, but they need to keep these on goal, forcing the opposing goalie to make plays.
2) Get Aggressive: They need to start aggressive and score the game’s first goal, but at the same time stop from being caught up field.
3) Defensive Traps: Watch out in the backfield, and prevent corner kicks, a category which the opponents have been outnumbering the Spartans in.
Game day preview: Walsh U.
Last week recap:
The No. 12 Bears defeated UAA rival and nationally ranked No. 11 Carnegie Mellon on Oct. 10, in Pittsburgh, PA. The Bears took down the Tartans 1-0 thanks to a goal by senior Cody Costakis in overtime. The Bears are 9-0-3 overall and are tied for first place in the UAA with a 1-0-1 record. The 9-0-3 start marks WashU’s best since 1979 when the Bears opened with a 12-0-2 mark, ultimately finishing 16-3-3 and third place in the NCAA Division III Championship.
Player to Watch:
Goalkeeper Andrew Serio is a monster in front of the cage. Serio currently yields a goals against average of 0.31 and a .895 save percentage, both are second in the UAA. Serio has the luxury of a strong backline so he doesn’t face many shots, facing only 6.91 shots per game, with just 2.75 shots on goal per game.
Can the Bears to get shots on goal against at staunch CWRU defense?
Probably. The Bears have a variety of players that have offensive weapons. If WashU is able to maintain possession in the attacking third they should be able to put shots on goal and sneak a few past Spartan keeper Ben Yabrow.
3 Keys to a Bears Victory:
Maintain Possession: Keeping the ball away from the Spartan’s frontline and pressuring the goal will be key in the WashU gameplan.
Get Momentum Early: Giving themselves an early lead will put pressure on the home team and force them to stretch the field.
When It Rains It Pours: The Spartans have gotten into a bad habit of giving up back to back goals right after one another. If the Bears can score they need to keep the pedal to the metal.
The No. 12 Bears have an excellent, well rounded offense. Led by junior Patrick McLean with six goals, WashU has four players with three or more goals and six players with at least two assists. WashU isn’t a high scoring team with 1.83 goals scored per game, but a terrific midfield allows the Bears to play up while preventing counter attacks.
Despite their low goal tally the Bears love to attack the net, they rank first in the UAA in corners earned with over six per game. WashU is second in the UAA in offside calls with 35, while that may not seem like a good thing, its more than double CWRU’s 15, and shows the Bears are comfortable trying to stretch the field on fast breaks.
The WashU defense revolves around goalkeeper Andrew Serio. Serio’s .31 goals against average is second in the UAA. Senior Alex Neumann has started in all eleven games he’s played, and heads the backline. Freshman Nik Patel has made an immediate impact on team. The Bears are allowing a just under seven shots a game, a challenge for the Spartans who average over double that.
The Spartans are disciplined as well, the team has been give just six yellow cards. Having given up just three goals on the year, the Bears have out earned their opponents on corner kicks 75-50. While the Bears haven’t earned many cards, they have committed their fair share of fouls, ranking fourth in the UAA with 131.
Head Coach Joe Clarke is in the midst of his fourteenth season, one o which might be his most successful. A career record of 148-74-26 (.649) in 13 seasons, Clarke has 12 winning seasons on his resume and advanced to the NCAA Sectional Finals in 2007. Already a member of the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame, Clarke has proven himself at the top of Division III, leading the Bears to the NCAA playoffs five times in his tenure at WashU. Clarke, however, hasn’t been able to lead the Bears to a UAA championship in his tenure. Having previously coached Saint Louis University, he took the Division I team to the playoffs in all but two years, reaching the NCAA Final Four before losing to eventual champion Virginia.