Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team loses steam

Having won most of its non-league matches relatively easily, the Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team is now beginning to feel the tougher end of the season. The Tartans started off the year with a splendid 8–0 run and were ranked as high as No. 2 in the NSCAA/[SLANT12][SLANT12] Division III rankings. However an unexpected loss at the University of Chicago on Oct. 2 was the beginning to a rather difficult month.

The Cardinal and Gray traveled to the East Coast during the mid-semester break weekend to take on University Athletic Association (UAA) conference rivals Brandeis University and New York University. In their first game, the Tartans were able to grind out a hard-earned victory against the Brandeis Judges. The score was level at zero at the end of 90 minutes. In overtime, sophomore defender Moni Sallam scored his first career goal and gave the Tartans a 1–0 lead off a gorgeous header. In the end, the single goal from Sallam was enough to get the Tartans their first conference victory of the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Zach Stahl performed exceptionally, making seven saves and earning his fourth shutout of the season.

Two days later, the team traveled to the Big Apple to take on the New York University Violets. The game proved to be rather physical and with few shots that tested the goalies from either team. The deadlock remained after fulltime, and the Tartans went to overtime for their fourth consecutive game. However, extra time was not enough for either team to make a difference, and the Tartans picked up their first tie of the season.

The men's soccer team is now 9–2–1 this season and 1–2–1 in conference play. The team was hoping to pick up some easy victories in the early days of October before taking on Emory University and Rochester University, both of which are ranked in the top 25 in the nation, in the next few weeks. Unfortunately no match comes easy when playing UAA opponents. Additionally, unexpected lineup changes from head coach Arron Lujan do not seem to have produced positive results.

The Tartans finish up the regular season with three very difficult and much-anticipated matches against Case Western Reserve University, Rochester, and Emory, but to Carnegie Mellon’s favor, all three games are at home.

The Tartans face Case Western Reserve this upcoming Friday night at 7:30 p.m.