Men’s soccer is 4–0 for UAAs
The Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team continued their remarkable run last week as they defeated conference rivals Brandeis University and New York University. The team currently sits at number 9 in the NSCAA/Adidas Division III Rankings with their 13–1 record and are 4–0 in University Athletic Association (UAA) conference play.
The Tartans came out flying right from the kickoff against Brandeis, testing Judges goalkeeper Matt Lynch with five shots before finally scoring in the ninth minute. Senior forward Pat Lutz received a pass from fellow senior Ryan Browne, dribbled by the last defender and scored off a shot to the near post. Carnegie Mellon continued to press after the goal but gradually the pressure died down and the rest of the game was played mostly in the midfield. Brandeis’ most dangerous players, Alexander Farr and Jaime Batista, were shut down by the rock-solid Carnegie Mellon backline. Senior goalie Maks Khurgin was hardly tested and only had to make one save the entire match. Despite the dying pressure, Lutz continued to give Brandeis problems as he was constantly running at the Judges’ defense, stealing balls and creating chances. His efforts earned him a third UAA Athlete of the Week award and a second Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Player of the Week honor. The match ended 1–0 as the Tartans picked up their sixth consecutive shutout.
Two days later, Carnegie Mellon faced New York University. It was all about the seniors that day, as seniors Keith Haselhoff, Ricky Griffin, and Lutz all got on the score sheet in the Tartans’ last home fixture of the year. The game had an exciting beginning as Haselhoff scored in the fourth minute off a deflected shot and New York answered back seven minutes later.
The Tartans were a little shocked with the quick response, as it was only the fourth goal they’d allowed since Sept. 15. Nevertheless, Carnegie Mellon’s level of play was not disturbed and the Tartans were rewarded with a second goal.
The calm and cool Griffin broke through the New York backline and neatly scored off a chip shot over the goalkeeper. In the 27th minute, Lutz got his third goal of the weekend as he blasted the ball into the back of the net from six yards out. The Cardinal and Gray wrapped up the game in the second half, as the dynamic duo of Griffin and Lutz once again combined. Griffin was able to finish off a low shot to the far post to get his team-leading 17th goal of the season and secure the 4–1 win.
The men’s soccer team will unfortunately be losing 10 seniors next year, eight of whom are starters. However, the Tartans have enough talent on the team to be able to make up for the loss.
One aspiring candidate, first-year Kevin Pierce, explained how valuable it is for the younger players to practice against guys like Griffin and Lutz:
“You learn so much from the seniors. They’re all very talented and just inspire you to work harder every day. Not only do they teach you how to be successful on the field, they teach you how to be successful at Carnegie Mellon University overall.”
The Tartans are now 13–1 for the season and are currently fighting for a very high seed in the NCAA tournament in order to get home field advantage. The Tartans’ next match is away at Case Western University this Friday.