Men’s soccer remains undefeated in regional play

The Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team has proved to be an unstoppable force this season. While the men have yet to enter conference play, the team has had a strong showing against regional opponents and is currently 8–0–1 for the season. This past week, the Tartans outshot their opponents 40–6, scored eight goals in two games, and recorded two shutouts, defeating Grove City College 5–0 and St. Vincent College 3–0.

First year head coach Arron Lujan is not surprised by the success of his squad and stated in an interview that his goal for the season is “to improve on every aspect of our game from last year. If we do this, we will be successful.” Thus far, Lujan’s strategy has brought nothing but success for the Tartans.

The men began their winning week when they hit the road to face Grove City Tuesday. In the 23rd minute of play, junior midfielders Ryan Browne and Jonathan Simon combined to put the Tartans on the scoreboard. Browne fired a shot on frame that was deflected by Wolverine keeper Sean Osborne but Simon was there to finish the rebound into the back of the net. Simon scored again just two minutes later by finishing a rebound off a shot of his own.

Entering halftime with a two-goal advantage, the Tartans did not take long to increase their lead further. Five minutes into the second half, junior forward Ricky Griffin crossed the ball into the box and found Browne who tapped the ball into the net, putting the Tartans up by three. Browne continued to fire shots and was rewarded in the 57th minute of play, scoring his second goal of the game. Minutes later, Griffin added a goal of his own to make the final score of the game 5–0.

The Tartans returned home Friday night to challenge the St. Vincent Bearcats. Simon again gave the men an early lead. Just past the 10-minute mark, he received and finished a pass from junior defender Jonathan Hall. It would be the first of multiple shots Bearcats keeper Brandon Bower would see fly past him that night as Carnegie Mellon would go on to defeat St. Vincent 3–0.

The score remained 1–0 into the second half until Griffin managed to slot Browne a ball inside the box that Browne finished from five yards out to score his fifth goal of the season and give Griffin an assist. Griffin found the net himself just minutes later, recording his ninth goal of the season, with an assist from Simon.

Senior Matt Bazin increased his scoreless streak to 447 minutes of play, highlighting a different dimension of the undefeated Tartans. The men’s offense has undoubtedly been the highlight of this season, but the team defense, though not as widely recognized, has also performed at an optimal level. Lujan is not slow to give credit to the performance of his defensive line, which has recorded six shutouts this season.

“Defense wins games,” Lujan said. “The defense has been challenged not only in our opposition but also with learning a new system. I have been happy with their performance. Having a strong defense helps our attack have the confidence to go forward without any worries.”

The Tartans will play their final non-conference game tomorrow as they travel to Bethany College for the second time this season.
The team’s next home game and first University Athletic Association (UAA) game is Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Gesling Stadium.