Men’s soccer loses two straight despite strong play


Harsha Chandupatla / Observer

Freshman Jacob Grindel works against Emory at Case Field on Nov. 3.

J.P. O'Hagan, Staff Reporter

The standings don’t truly relate the level of play of the Spartans men’s soccer team this past weekend. Despite strong play, Case Western lost to both Carnegie Mellon and Emory and fell to 6-6-4 on the season. “We’re in the most competitive soccer conference in the country, regardless of division, and we’re not far away,” head coach Brandon Bianco said. “We have the youngest and smallest roster in the league and we’re a play or two away in each game from getting the result we’re looking for.”

At halftime on Friday night the Spartans were within reaching distance of an upset of the number 12 nationally ranked Carnegie Mellon. Leading 2-1 at half, a second half swing in Carnegie Mellon’s favor lead to a 4-2 loss.

The final two minutes of the first half provided possibly the most exciting scoring display of the entire season for the Spartans. All three goals of the half were scored within the last 67 seconds of the half.

The Spartans broke through first following a throw-in as Jacob Grindel flicked in his fifth goal of the year at 43:53 via a double assist by midfielder Chris Cvecko and defender Bairdy Hansen. Just a few seconds later, Carnegie Mellon answered the Spartans’ late strike with a goal of their own: a strong header which found the back of the net. Unfazed by the quick response from the Tartans, Case didn’t miss a beat and matched the goal with just two seconds left on the clock. Midfielder Slater Jameson found space between the posts himself when he fired a shot, following a battle in front of the Carnegie Mellon net.

However, the lead didn’t last, and the Spartans saw the game swing away from their favor quickly in the second half. Carnegie Mellon scored three unanswered goals in the second 45 minutes of play. The visiting Tartans tied the game at the 46:55 mark, took the lead just four minutes later at the 50:37 mark and then added an insurance goal in the 71st minute. The Spartans had no response for Carnegie Mellon’s scoring flurry and the game ended with a score of 4-2. “Second half was simply us having breakdowns on restarts,” Bianco said. “All four Carnegie Mellon goals came from a restart and we didn’t do a good enough job to defend against it. We limited them in the run of play and just got beat to the ball on restarts. Carnegie showed their experience in Friday’s game and is something we’ll learn from.”

One positive for the Spartans was the return of junior goalkeeper Jay Darby. Darby had missed the previous 13 games with an injury. He recorded three saves in his 45 minutes of play in the first half. Frank Candau played the second half and took the loss.

A bizarre goal in the 28th minute was what kept the Spartans from a win against Emory University. Case Western dropped the match 1-0 at home on Sunday despite strong play. Emory’s, and the game’s, only goal came when Emory’s Leo Ragazzo sent a long throw-in into the Spartan’s box. Inexplicably the ball went untouched and managed to fly into back of the net.

The Spartans were unable to capitalize on a few golden chances and take back the game. Hansen volleyed a shot towards goal, but Emory’s keeper Abe Hannigan impressively tipped the ball over the bar for the save in the first half. Minutes later Grindel rocketed a free kick into the box that just barely flew high, hitting the crossbar. A bad bounce kept midfielder Marco Patrie from finishing when he had a great chance, open inside the Emory box. “Emory is a team that is at the top of the league and we played them off the field, especially in the second half.” Bianco said, “We were fantastic Sunday—we kept the ball, got our backs into the attack, limited them to zero shots on goals. We just weren’t sharp enough in front of the goal but our mentality Sunday was big time.”

The Spartans will look to finish the season on a high note by winning the last game of the season at home on Saturday. The match, which is also Senior Night, will be played against Rochester University at 5:00 p.m. on DiSanto Field.