Men’s Soccer team chalks first victory

J.P. O’Hagan, Contributing Reporter

The Case Western men’s soccer team cruised by Pitt-Greensburg for their first win of the season Saturday. The Spartans then forced a tie against Baldwin Wallace University on Wednesday night. The past two games bring the Spartans’ record to 1-0-3. The game against Pitt-Greensburg was a very strong showing. “It was a fairly complete performance from the team,” said coach Brandon Bianco. The team played well Wednesday night as well, but were only able to force a tie, the third of the season.

After two ties to open the season, the Spartans were still searching for a win heading into last Saturday’s game against the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcats. They didn’t have to look any longer as the Spartans dominated up and down the field, beating Bobcats easily by a score of 4-0. Junior midfielder Ryan Finstad scored the first goal of the game for CWRU finding the back of the net in the 34th minute, after receiving an assist from freshmen Jacob Grindel. The score was one to nothing at half time and reminded close until the 65th minute mark when sophomore Slater Jameson scored his second goal of the season. Just before the 72nd minute mark Logan Glosser scored to place the game out of reach of the Bobcats. Freshman Brandon White added a goal of his own five minutes later to bring the score to a dominating 4-0. Freshman goalkeeper Ari Lewis needed no saves during his 72 minutes in net, nor did Frank Candau who finished the game for the Spartans. The defense had a dominating game as CWRU held Pitt-Greensburg to only two shots the entire game, one in each half. “It was a good win for sure, the guys played well and got everyone playing time,” Bianco said.

Wednesday’s match was a physical game with 21 fouls and three yellow cards between the two teams. After a scoreless first half Baldwin Wallace scored first, when the Yellow Jackets’ Aaron Harden found the back of the net two minutes into the second half. The Spartans then had to play catch up. The Spartans finally found the equalizer when Brandon White beat the Yellow Jacket goalie for his second goal of the season in the 74th minute. The two teams continued to battle back and forth through two overtimes. The Spartans were able to out shoot the Yellow Jackets in overtime but were unable to find the go ahead and winning goal in the two sudden death overtimes. The defense was instrumental in holding back the Baldwin Wallace offense, limiting the Yellow Jackets to 14 shots, compared to the Spartan’s 28 shots. Lewis had a strong outing, recording four big saves between the posts. The Spartans are still undefeated but look to capitalize on close games, after only being able to scrape out ties in three of the four games they have played this season.

The Spartans have been working on improving their game over the past week. The coaching staff wants to get the defenders into the attack, to make the offense smoother and even more productive. In addition the team is working to be sharper with the ball and their passing. “The approach is always the same,” Bianco said. “We prepare the same way for every game.”

The Spartans will continue their away series at Penn State-Behrend next Tuesday, Sept. 17th. That will be the last game leading up to Case Western’s home opener against Franklin on Saturday, Sept. 21st.