Men’s soccer defeats fourth-ranked Emory 4–2

The Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team defeated the Emory University Eagles, ranked fourth nationally, 4–2 in a hard-fought game Saturday. The 20th-ranked Tartans staged an incredible comeback from a 2–0 deficit to score four goals in under 35 minutes, posting a victory over one of the top competitors for this year’s NCAA championship. The Eagles (16–1–1) were undefeated in conference play and had already locked up the conference championship title when they stepped on the field of Gesling Stadium. The Tartans, who ended the regular season this weekend with a final record of 13–2–1, finished at a respectable third place in the University Athletic Association (UAA).

The first half of Saturday’s game left spectators wondering if the Tartans would be able to hold off the Emory attack in the second half, let alone that they would rebound for a second-half victory. In the 31st minute, Emory scored the first goal of the game off a long throw into the box that went right to the head of an Eagle player who redirected the ball into the net. The Eagles launched another attack early in the second half, which resulted in their second and final goal of the game. Emory’s Patrick McFarland slid a ball through the box behind two Tartan defenders for his teammate to take up. Senior Tartan goalkeeper Matt Bazin came out of the net to defend the shot, but McFarland managed to score a goal from a shot on the ground to inside the back post.

In the second half, the Tartans created a good counter with the combination play of three juniors, when Jon Simon was given a one-on-two situation at the half line. Simon beat the two defenders and passed the ball to Keith Haselhoff. Haselhoff then slotted the ball to Pat Lutz, who made a run up the field and finished the ball into the far post. At the 60-minute mark, the Tartans began to mount a comeback against the Eagles, and, in just four passes, the men brought the ball up the field and into the opponents’ net. Bazin punted the ball up the field to near the half line, where Lutz settled it and played a pass back to defender sophomore Max Betzig. Betzig then served a long ball across the field to junior Ricky Griffin, who was making a run up the sideline. The ball bounced over an Emory defender and Griffin collected the ball and blasted it into the back post past the diving Eagles keeper.

The Tartans scored again in 63rd minute to equalize the score at two all. Simon threw a dangerous ball into the box that Emory could not clear. Haselhoff got a touch on the ball and hit it to Lutz, who finished it into the net. At the 71-minute mark, the Tartans capitalized on another of Simon’s throw-ins to give themselves the lead for the first time in the game. Simon catapulted the ball into the box for first-year Carmen Minella to hit into the net for the first goal of his college career.

At the 78-minute mark, the Tartans sealed their victory with another goal to make the final score 4–2 in favor of Carnegie Mellon. Griffin carried the ball all the way up the sideline to the extended 6-yard line, cut it back, and with the utmost composure passed the ball to classmate Ryan Browne, who made a run into the box. Browne connected with the ball just inside the 18 and effortlessly shot the ball into the open net.

Griffin’s two goals this weekend have given him 36 points on the season with 15 goals and six assists to make him the fourth all-time point receiver in Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer history.

The Tartans will hear this afternoon whether they will continue their postseason play, when ECAC and NCAA tournament bids will be announced. The men anxiously await to see if their 13–2–1 record will be good enough for a trip to post-season play.