Men’s soccer records undefeated week


Daniel Brenner

Second-year midfielder Marques Manta chases the ball during a game earlier this season.

We are now two-thirds of the way through the soccer season, and the Case Western Reserve University men’s team sits on a 5-5-2 record after taking their first road win of the season this past week.

The week opened with a game against Oberlin College here at DiSanto Field. The beginning of the match belonged to Oberlin.

With just 20 minutes of gameplay complete, Oberlin took off. Two players were up against just one Spartan defender and fourth-year goalkeeper Calvin Boyle. With the numbers, the speed and the momentum, the ball was put past Boyle for the first goal of the game.

Then, for another 45 minutes, both teams fought and neither scored. Until in the 67th minute, Oberlin again had the numbers on Boyle. As Boyle was out from the goal, Oberlin scored into the open net, breaking open a 2-0 lead early in the second half.

CWRU did not back down. From that point, the team “moved the ball quicker,” according to Head Coach Brandon Bianco. The team “made better decisions, and had some terrific individual performances.”

Third-year defender Alex Besl took over the game from that point. A lob into the goal box towards the end of the 73rd minute met with Besl’s head. Besl’s shot deflected off of the goal post, directly into the control of his fellow third-year defender Christian Lytle who immediately kicked it into the goal. The Yeomen lead was cut in half.

Less than seven minutes later, the ball was sailing in from the far side of the penalty box towards Besl’s head again. This time, the shot got through, with Oberlin’s goalkeeper looking back at it powerless.

For the remaining ten minutes of regular time, both teams fought hard. Both the Spartans and Yeoman ended up with a yellow card in those last ten minutes. During overtime, neither team would be able to score, ending the game in a draw after what looked to be a one-sided affair for Oberlin.

After the battle, the team took off for New York where they would face the New York University (NYU) Violets. The game was the first road match against a University Athletic Association (UAA) rival for the Spartans this season, a dangerous prospect as the team entered as winless on the road and having lost its only conference game thus far in the year.

At first, the Violets got off to a good start. Just after 15 minutes had elapsed in the game, NYU chipped in the first goal of the game and was off to a 1-0 start. Just about everything went downhill for them from there.

Second-year midfielder Zachary Senft tied the game up off of an assist from Besl.

Senft believes this game “was a break out game” for his team. “We simply finished the chances that we’ve been creating every game,” he said.

About four minutes after Senft’s score, first-year forward Seldon Magruder gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead, and no more goals would be scored in the half.

After three goals in the first half, three more were scored in the second. Fourth-year forward Michael Balog scored the first two in a row, both thanks to assists from Senft. To follow suit from the first half, Magruder would again score the final goal of the half to put the Spartans up to a final tally of 5-1.

Despite the lack of goals as the rest of the game would go on, there was still a healthy heaping of hard fouls, including a red card against the Violets.

“Conference games are tight and physical,”  Bianco said. “We want our guys to never back down, but to also be disciplined.”

The high-scoring action proved that CWRU can take over a game on the road, and handle themselves in the UAA. Both are very good things to establish now, as the team looks forward to the final third of the season. In the last six games of the regular season, five of them will be against UAA rivals. And as for the road, the Spartans find themselves away from DiSanto Field for the next two matches, before returning home to finish out the season on a four game home stand.

The UAA standings are currently up in the air. The rest of the season will decide a lot for the conference, and the Spartans have just shown they are ready for the challenge. Their head coach believes in them too. “Our strength of schedule is the strongest in the country,” Bianco said.

And Senft agrees. “If we just play our game and play the way we do day in and day out at practice, we can compete with, if not beat, anyone.”