Men’s soccer slumps entering conference season

Team shutout in two straight games

J.P. O'Hagan, Staff Reporter

The Case Western men’s soccer team’s confidence was shaken this week as they lost two games. The Spartans lost to Brandeis 4-0 on Saturday and 2-0 to Oberlin Tuesday night. “The biggest area is our confidence at the moment,” Head Coach Brandon Bianco said. “We’re a good team when we’re playing together and playing with confidence. At the moment we need to dust ourselves off and get ready for the next one.”

The Spartans suffered their second loss of the season and started UAA play on Saturday against Brandeis. Brandeis is ranked 14th in the nation amongst Division III teams. The Spartans’ strong play this season was no match for the visiting Judges and Case Western struggled against the powerhouse, falling 4-0. The Judges’ Ben Applefield beat two Spartan defenders before rocketing a shot into the upper ninety for the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute.

Brandeis added three more goals in the second half in the 48th, 73rd and the 78th minutes to handily put away the Spartans. It was Case Western’s first time being shutout this season. Some of the reason for this is that the Spartans didn’t step up their play like in previous games this season.

“Brandeis was a good team,” Bianco said, “but [the] goals we gave up put us in a tough hole. We can defend better than we have recently and if we do, we’re in the game against a team like Brandeis.”

The Spartans dropped their second in a row on Tuesday night when they lost to Oberlin College. This is the first losing streak the team has had all season. The Yeomen did all of their damage in the first half, scoring in the 16th and 23rd minutes. The Spartans battled back the rest of the game, but were unable to break through and find the back of the net.

It was the second time the Spartans had been shutout in two games. Case even had more shots than the Yeomen, outshooting the visitors. “Soccer is a funny game,” Bianco said. “At times you will have rough patches where the goals are coming. We’re putting ourselves in good spots, we just need to do a better job of finishing plays in the attacking end.”

The Spartans are looking to make the proper adjustments and get back on track. As the team enters the more competitive portion of the season, they look to match or improve on their last-place UAA finish last year. Going 0-7 in the conference last year, the Spartans have a lot to prove. An improving UAA result is critical step in the growth of the team.

The Spartan’s will play three straight on the road starting with New York University on Saturday. The NYU match is a good opportunity for the team to make up some ground on the competition. Following New York, Case will be taking on Washington University and Chicago University.
While traveling can be tough for some teams, the Spartans are excited for the challenge. “Our guys have done a good job with traveling and I think we’re excited to go to some cool areas of the country and play good teams,” Bianco said.