Men’s soccer bounces back from weekend loss with triumphant win

Spartans outscore Westminster 6-1 en route to a 4-2-1 overall record

CWRUs second-year defender Jad Oglesby sets into motion the Spartans staggering victory against the Westminster Titans in the mens soccer game this past Tuesday.

Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

CWRU’s second-year defender Jad Oglesby sets into motion the Spartans’ staggering victory against the Westminster Titans in the men’s soccer game this past Tuesday.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

Following an exciting display of offensive prowess, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans split two games this past week and concluded with a 6-1 win at home over the Westminster College Titans on Tuesday.

Contrary to this more dominant route, the Spartans were unable to find any offensive rhythm last Saturday and took their second loss of the season at the hands of Kenyon College.

The first half of the Saturday match was filled with several goal attempts but lacking in successful scores. Both teams traded several corner kicks and shots, with Kenyon attempting three corners and three shots while CWRU tried for four corners and two shots. Neither squad could find the back of the net.

Within five minutes of the second half, third-year Kenyon athlete Atli Hrafnkelsson tapped the ball into the goal off an assist from fourth-year Luke Muther to put the first score on the board. About 20 minutes later, first-year Kenyon athlete Alem Duratovic kicked the ball into the lower left of the net to put Kenyon up 2-0.

The Spartans had multiple opportunities to mount a comeback. Fourth-year midfielder Sean Atwater attempted a shot that went just over the top of the goal. Graduate student and forward Seldon Magruder, third-year midfielder Matt Vatne and second-year defender Josh Cook each had header shot attempts to fuel the comeback, but nothing got past the Kenyon goalie.

The final score was 2-0 in favor of Kenyon College. CWRU had the advantage in shots 9-8, while both teams took six corner kicks each. Kenyon had five total saves, whereas first-year goalkeeper Sam Rojanasakdakul made just one on behalf of the Spartans.

“We made too many mistakes that hurt our chances of winning,” said Atwater of the loss. “We have to play well … to beat good teams like Kenyon. We had moments where we looked really composed on the ball under [pressure], but we couldn’t [convert] that into goals.”

Though the team was unsatisfied with the end result, head coach Carter Poe took the long-term view to put this game into perspective.

In an interview with CWRU Athletics, Poe reflected upon the loss with Kenyon, saying there were “definitely some good things, [but] a lot of things that for sure we can work on.” He added, “We’re disappointed with the result because of the goals we gave up, but at the very least, I think it’s getting us ready for games down the road… [It’s] good to get to learn those things right now.”    

Tuesday night was a whole different story for the Spartans. At 5:19 into the match, Westminster fourth-year Tyler Caterino netted a low shot from the far side of the net for his fourth goal of the season to put the Titans up 1-0. But this time, CWRU was quick to respond. Four minutes later, fourth-year midfielder Henry Barnes headed in a long cross from second-year midfielder Austin Zeleznik to tie the score.

The Spartans continued to lay on the pressure on the Titan defense, finishing the match with a 22-5 advantage in shot attempts and an 8-2 advantage on corner kicks.

Second-year defender Jad Oglesby’s initial attempt was blocked by Titan goalie Jad Jadallah. But Oglesby followed the rebound and cashed in the shot to put the Spartans up 2-1 with the first goal of his career.

The Spartans continued to ride their momentum as Magruder and second-year defender Alex Lippiatt both scored headers off assists from Oglesby in a two-minute span to put CWRU up 4-1 going into halftime.

Vatne finished off the Titans rather swiftly in the second half. At the 47:10 mark, Vatne received a pass from Lippiatt and scored the goal from 10 yards out. Almost 13 minutes later, Vatne punched in an unassisted goal, his third of the season, to put the icing on an eventual 6-1 Spartan victory.

Rojanasakdakul again made one save in his 90 minutes of action as goalkeeper, improving to 1-1-1 in his first campaign at the college level while helping CWRU reach a 4-2-1 record.

“As a first-year student athlete, I’m super honored to represent CWRU on the field,” Rojanasakdakul said about his opportunity to be on the Spartans’ soccer team. “Being able to play and see fans in the stands after months of quarantine, I can feel nothing but pride.”

As Rojanasakdakul continues to adapt to the faster pace and intensity of Division III sports, he hopes to “improve on the goals allowed against our team.” As for the rest of the season, the first-year goalie echoed the head coach’s sentiments, hoping the team “improves together—both offensively and defensively—to prepare ourselves for the UAA [matches].”

The men’s soccer team will compete against Capital University in Columbus, Ohio this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in what will hopefully be another strong game for the Spartans.