by John Gross
This past Homecoming weekend, the Carnegie Mellon men?s soccer team brutally battled the University of Rochester Yellowjackets and the Case Western Reserve University Spartans. On Friday night, after 90 minutes of play and two overtime periods, the Tartans held the Yellowjackets to a 1?1 tie. On Sunday, the Tartans and Spartans competed aggressively; the game-winning goal for the Tartans was scored with less than four minutes to play.
?Rochester we knew would be a physical match. They are always one of the toughest games physically we play every year,? said senior forward James Steidel. This was evident through the numerous fouls called and the loud hollering by the Rochester coach.
In the 39th minute of the game against Rochester, Steidel pulled off his first goal in four games, giving the Tartans the lead for the first half. This lead soon changed to a tie when in the second half, Spartan midfielder Ben Cross scored against Tartan goalkeeper Dave Thomas in a breakaway. Rochester leaves Tartan territory with a 9?2?2 overall record and a 1?0?2 UAA record.
Steidel said after the game, ?I think we played well overall, especially in the first half. We were ready and excited for the game and had many opportunities to score.?
?As a team we?ve been frustrated at our lack of scoring recently, so the goal of the game was to put some balls in the back of the net,? said Thomas. ?We came out very well and played our best half of soccer in the first 45 minutes, but we were unlucky to only score one. I definitely think Rochester was relieved to get that result because we had the better of the play for the majority of the game.? Thomas made five saves for the Tartans during the Rochester game.
Steidel said of the referees? calls, ?For the most part, the referees called a fair game. There were two huge calls that were missed, one offside call on us where we actually scored and it was called back, and the other call was a missed throw-in call.? Thomas said, ?In general the ref called a good game, but the call on the throw in that led to their goal, I feel was called poorly, but like I said its a part of the game, and the fact of the matter is we should have beat them 4?0, so it shouldn?t have factored into the outcome.?
On Sunday afternoon, the Case Western Spartans kicked off in Gesling Stadium to compete against the Tartans. The first half was pure aggression by both teams, but proved to be scoreless. By the 20th minute of the second half, sophomore midfielder Sean Filipovitz gained a lead for the Tartans kicking the ball past Spartan goalkeeper Justin Elszasz.
In the 29th minute, after two consecutive fouls were called against the Tartans, the Spartans scored against Thomas off of an awarded free kick. With less than four minutes left in the second half and a 1?1 tie on the scoreboard, sophomore forward Jonathan Browne broke through Spartan defenders scoring the game winning goal, sealing a victory for the Tartans, 2?1. After the win, the Tartans? UAA record stands at 1?0?3.
With the health of the team questionable, Thomas commented, ?Everything has been going very well for the team considering our situation.? Steidel added, ?A few key players have been injured: Alex Beck, one of our captains, has a torn ACL and hasn?t been full strength; one of our key juniors, Steve Berei, keeps dislocating his toe when he runs and hasn?t been able to play full strength. So, as a team, we haven?t been 100 percent yet.?
?We now must win every other UAA game in order to even have a chance to win the conference. The UAA is an extremely competitive conference, where anything can happen, so we aren?t finished yet, but there is no room for error,? said Steidel of the team?s current record.
This Wednesday the Tartans play away against the Grove City College Wolverines at 4:30 pm. The following Saturday, the Tartans will be playing at home against the St. Vincent College Bearcats at 7:30 pm.