After major success during the 2003 season, including a fifth return to the NCAA Division III playoffs, the men?s soccer team is back, fully prepared, and ready to conquer their division again. Returning players include senior goalkeeper Dave Thomas, senior forward James Steidel, and sophomore forward Jonathan Browne, all of whom were recognized last year by the University Athletic Association. Back to lead the Tartans for a 23rd consecutive year is three-time ?UAA Coach of the Year? Nick Gaudioso.
Prior to Wednesday?s game, the Tartans traveled to Huntington, Pa., to play their season opener against the Juniata College Eagles. Hoping for a shutout, the Tartans achieved their goal by defeating the Eagles 4?0. Jonathan Browne was lead scorer in the game, scoring two goals, with midfielder Sean Filipovitz and forward Jordan Esten each scoring a point.
After playing the Eagles, the Tartans traveled to Alliance, Ohio on September 8 to compete against the Mt. Union College Raiders. Rainy weather conditions hindered both teams? performances, making it even harder for the Tartans to dominate the game. However, the Tartans did pull out a win 3?1, allowing only one goal, by Eagle forward Dan Sears. Tartan goals were scored by James Steidel, junior Steve Berei, and junior midfielder Dan Mastalski. However, during the game Mastalski was given a yellow card and the Tartans were caught offside on eight separate occasions. The Eagles move on in their division with a record of 0?3?1.
On Wednesday, the Tartans battled the Washington & Jefferson Presidents, defeating them 6?1, keeping the Tartan record undefeated at 3?0. Wednesday?s game was the first of six home games for men?s soccer this season.
In the first half, the Tartans clinched an easy lead with a five-point margin against the visiting Presidents. In the third minute, Tartan forward Jonathan Browne scored with an assist by duo Brett Holmes and Filipovitz. In the 11th minute, a goal was scored by Filipovitz, that caused controversy with the Presidents, who believed he was entirely offside. No foul was called, adding another goal to the Tartans? lead. In the 15th and 40th minutes, Filipovitz and Browne each scored again, respectively. Down to the wire, in the 44th minute, Steidel pulled off an impressive head shot, scoring for the Tartans and leaving the first half with a 5?0 lead.
Senior midfielder Mike Steffa scored the Tartans? surprisingly final goal of the night within two minutes of the beginning of the second half. The game intensified as fouls were called, including a yellow card given to a player from Washington & Jefferson. By the 70th minute of the game, President Mike Chiodo scored against goalie Thomas on a penalty kick, destroying Tartan hope of shutting out another team.
?I felt that as a team we played pretty well, but we still have a lot to improve on,? commented Browne. ?I?m not too worried about that since it?s so early in the season and we will only get better with time. It?s hard to compare this game with the previous games since last Wednesday the weather conditions were horrible and also W & J was not a very strong team.?
Statistically, Carnegie Mellon significantly out shot Washington & Jefferson with a margin of 22?7. Tartan shooters fired 15 of their 22 shots on target, while the Presidents shot only three out of seven shots on target. The Presidents were caught offside on two occasions, and leave Tartan territory with a losing record of 1?3.
Assistant coach Matt Crummy noted after the game that he was ?pleased with the play? and that the team excelled in ?finishing scoring opportunities.? ?We have a strong upper-class,? added Crummy. ?It?s gonna be tough for freshmen to get playing time.?
Next Wednesday, the Tartans compete against Point Park College. In the fourth game of the season. This home game will start at 7:30 at Gesling Stadium.