The men’s soccer team has played better than their record shows following the opening the weekend of Case Western sports.
The Spartans head into the Fred Meyers adidas Invitational this weekend looking at a 0-1-1 record, following a double overtime draw against last weekend’s tournament host Roanoke and then a disappointing loss to Lynchburg College.
The Spartans struck first in the opening game on Friday night; Matthew Zembas marched unassisted down into Roanoke’s half, putting his shot to the left of the Maroons’ goalie and into the back of the net. Roanoke pounced from the restart, and marched back down into the Spartan half, putting a shot just wide a mere 40 seconds after the Spartans scored. This scare got the Spartans moving again and the teams traded possessions until the Maroons found an opportunity of their own late in the first half. The Spartans were called for a foul just outside the box and Roanoke converted on the dead ball kick, placing it just out of reach of the Spartan keeper, Frank Candau.
The second half continued in much the same fashion, with both sides trading strong runs and big stops. Neither team was able to find the back of the net after the second 45 minutes ticked off the clock. The teams were highly comparable in regulation, with 10 shots for the Spartans and 10 for the Maroons. In addition, the high level of competition was clearly seen in the 28 fouls traded between the two teams. As the game moved into extra time Roanoke, desperate to break the tie and not lose their first game at home, stepped up the pressure. The Maroons dominated offensively in the pair of overtimes, outshooting the Spartans 7-0 before the final whistle blew. The Spartan defense held strong, however, and Candau’s career high six saves allowed the Spartans to leave with a tie.
The Spartans were unable to keep Lynchburg’s Luke Moore at bay, as he accounted for both shots that found the back of the Spartan net. Moore broke the game open early, finding space between Spartan keeper Candau and the left post in the 13th minute, receiving a nice pass just above the box. Moore then finished off the match when he knocked a header into the Spartan net in the 79th minute off of a pass from teammate Josh Hinkle.
Junior midfielder Chris Cvecko, who will be one of the Spartans top weapons this season, had the best chance for Case Western to get on the board in the 54th minute, but he sent the pass he received from Zembas went just wide of the goal. The match was another physical one, as the teams combined for 23 fouls. Candau was in the net for the second straight game and stopped five of Lynchburg’s seven shots on goal.
The Spartans will be looking for their first win of the season when they kick off the weekend against Guilford College tonight at 5:00 p.m. at the Fred Myers Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan.