Victorious at last

Kevin Smith, Opinion Editor

In the past few weeks, the Case Western Reserve University men’s soccer team has recorded one of each result as they approach the end of the regular season. They fell to Emory University, 2-1, tied with ninth ranked University of Rochester, 1-1, and defeated North Park University, 2-0. Their record now stands at 5-7-3.

Going into the match against Emory, the Spartans had been struggling the past several games. After taking down the second ranked team in the country, Kenyon University, the Spartans lost to Oberlin College and then to New York University followed by a double overtime tie against Brandeis University.

In the first half, the Emory Eagles struck first. Moustafa Khattab converted an opportunity created by Jason McCartney in the 25th minute. However the Spartans would respond before the second half. In the 44th minute, fourth-year midfielder Jacob Grindel scored a header off a cross from first-year midfielder Brian Woo.

The Spartans and the Eagles continued to battle for the remainder of the game, but no goals came from their efforts. The game saw a total of 32 shots. Emory had the advantage of 21 shots on goal versus CWRU’s 11.

In the first half of overtime, Emory’s Gabriel Vasconcelos found the back of the net in the 103rd minute, earning a victory for the Eagles on the golden goal.

The Spartans have struggled in close game situations at the end of regulation and in overtime. Coming into the match, they had lost four games on a goal in the last seven minutes of regulation. Out of their five overtime opportunities this year, they have only converted one of them into victory.

Their next game against the Rochester Yellowjackets would affirm this pattern. Both goals came in the second half. Rochester’s Mitch Volis scored in the 50th minute and put the Yellowjackets up 1-0. The Spartans answered back in the 71st minute, when fourth-year forward Joshua Prosser scored a bicycle kick off a throw-in from third-year midfielder Paul Darmstadter, evening up the game at 1-1.

Despite two overtime periods, neither teams could score another goal to pull ahead. The Spartans remain winless in the University Athletic Association, with a record of 0-2-2.

The Spartans would bounce back in a non-conference game, earning their first win in over three weeks against North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.

With a sense of urgency, the Spartans came into the game with an attacking mindset. Eventually their aggression paid off as they scored a goal with just two minutes left to play in the first half. Woo found second-year midfielder Josh Wargo, who proceeded to strike the ball into the top left corner.

In the second half the Spartans were able to secure their victory with a goal from Grindel, off a cross from fourth-year defender Zach Broujos, putting them up 2-0.

CWRU men’s soccer will play again against the first-ranked University of Chicago on Friday, Oct. 28, the team’s senior day. The regular season will conclude next Saturday against conference rivals Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.