Men’s soccer picked up some ground this weekend in conference play as they squared off against two teams within their division.

The Washington University Bears challenged the Yellowjackets first, boasting a record of 11-4-1 on the season. More unsettling was the fact that the Bears had not surrendered a goal in their previous four games.

The Yellowjackets cast these laudable facts aside and entered the game determined and pumped, especially from their previous slaughter of Elmira College.

Displaying talent both offensively and defensively, the Yellowjackets took 15 shots on goal while allowing just four to the Bears.

All 15 shots posed wonderful opportunities for the Yellowjackets. Despite the chances, the team failed to convert a single shot into a goal. Double overtime couldn’t even determine a victor.

Head Coach Chris Apple extolled the team for its efforts on the field. According to Apple, the team’s execution of play surpassed all previous performances.

“We played to our potential,” Apple said. “The team played a great match as they controlled the play of the game by creating tons of chances. It was the best performance on the year. We should have won considering the chances we had. However, I’m happy with the performance, just disappointed with the results.”

Apple attributed the deadlock to Bears’ goaltender Colin Robinson, who has eight shutouts this season. “It’s very difficult to win a game in any sport where the goalkeeper has a great day,” he said.

Undeterred by their tie, the Yellowjackets switched gears and stepped up against the University of Chicago Maroons, who had not surrendered a loss in their previous 11 starts.

Furthermore, their goaltender had surrendered only four goals on the entire season.

The Yellowjackets struck first against the Maroons’ vaunted goaltender. Take Five Scholar Ben Cross initiated the play with a corner kick that Maroon defense unsuccessfully cleared. Junior Jeremy Goico collected the ball and shuffled it to freshman Nick Mikolenko, who headed the ball in for the goal.

Several minutes later, the Yellowjackets made another drive with the help of Goico’s ball-handling skills. Junior Nate Micklos captured Goico’s pass before he turned and fired it into the opposite corner of the net.

The Yellowjackets’ pressure on the Maroons yielded a third goal before the end of the first half. However, the team’s reluctance demonstrated their unwillingness to concede the match.

The Maroons’ unyielding efforts paid off in the second half when they evened the score at two.

The Yellowjackets quickly deflated the Maroons’ comeback by pocketing a goal off a well-coordinated play by Micklos, senior Jeff White and Take Five Scholar Michael Spring. White launched an indirect kick into the Maroons’ end. Saving the ball from becoming a goal kick, Springer leaped and headed the ball over to Micklos, who headed it into the net, resulting in the final score of 3-2.

The soccer team plays its final game this Saturday against Case Western Reserve University.

The Yellowjackets currently sport a record of 11-1-4. A victory against Case Western would put the team in a good position to claim the University Athletic Association conference championship title. Victory also puts the Yellowjackets in probable contention for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

While the details are not complete, the Yellowjackets are focused on winning their final match against Case Western. They could use all the support from the crowd this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Fauver Stadium.

Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.



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