Men’s soccer shuts out VMI in 0-0 draw
After 110 minutes and 44 combined shots, neither the Saint Joseph’s University men’s soccer team nor the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) team could find the back of the net.
The Sept. 9 game in Lexington, Va. ended in a 0-0 tie after two overtime periods, with the second being sudden death. This brought the Hawks to a record of 2-1-2. Coming off of a dramatic overtime win just three days prior, the result is a testament to the team’s ability to perform in high pressure situations.
Defense was the key to this game, as the Hawks’ backline fended off the Keydets throughout the entire match, allowing just 14 shots. St. Joe’s senior goalkeeper, Greg O’Connell made seven saves against the home team.
“They [VMI] didn’t have a ton of great chances, but had three really good opportunities,” St. Joe’s Head Coach Don D’Ambra said. “Greg O’Connell did a great job making saves on those shots, so I think he really stood out defensively maintaining that shutout.”
O’Connell’s shutout this past weekend marks the sixth of his career, making him the ninth all-time for career shutouts in school history.
“The backline did a really good job of keeping them from getting in behind,” O’Connell said of his teams’ efforts.
The immovable backline consisted of senior Ben Zambetti, junior Eddie McCusker, freshman Daniel Morales and senior Kevin Lockhart. Zambetti is credited with a save for his tenacity in the 85th minute when he deflected a VMI open shot from hitting the back of the net.
Despite the lack of scoring, the Hawks’ offense was on their game as well. Senior Matt Crawford nearly matched the number of VMI shots solely by himself, ending the game with 12. Redshirt freshman Jarod Ramses added six.
“We had a lot of chances, we just weren’t composed around the goal,” D’Ambra said in reference to the lack of scoring.
In the first half, the Hawks were granted a penalty kick, but Crawford’s shot was saved by VMI goalkeeper Jon Harrington. Afterward, St. Joe’s put pressure on VMI’s defense throughout the match.
“For the most part, I would say we were in their offensive third,” O’Connell noted. “It’s good that we got the shutout, tough that we didn’t get the win, but that’s how games go.”
With a starting lineup consisting of four freshmen and two sophomores, experience will come as the season progresses. In their next game, the Hawks plan to be more productive offensively.
“We definitely want to get on the scoresheet,” O’Connell said. “A shutout is great, but we want to drive up the score, so we’re definitely looking for a win on the road. We’re excited for our next game.”
St. Joe’s will be on the road for their next two games, returning to Philadelphia to play at Villanova University on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. They will play at home again on Sept. 23 against Yale University at 7 p.m.