Men’s soccer earns third tie of the season
After two overtime periods, neither the Saint Joseph’s University men’s soccer team nor the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils could grab another goal beyond the regulation score, ending their Sept. 30 game in a 1-1 draw. The teams were evenly matched, coming out of the game with 14 shots each.
At the end of regulation, it looked as though the Hawks were going to come away with a loss as they trailed by a goal with just one minute left. Just as the game appeared to be over, junior Derek MacKinnon put the ball in the upper left corner of the net off of a rebound shot by freshman Alvin Dahn to get the equalizer.
“It was a little bit of desperation [that sparked the goal],” MacKinnon said. “We were one-nothing down, and we just kept moving forward.”
The Blue Devils were able to come ahead early in the game when senior goalkeeper Greg O’Connell bobbled the ball in the first six minutes to put the Hawks behind, 1-0.
O’Connell would not let any other balls past him, making six crucial, diving saves through the rest of the game.
The first half ended with the Hawks down 1-0, bringing an aggressive second half from both teams. Six yellow cards were issued to St. Joe’s and Central Connecticut throughout the second half and the two overtime periods.
The Hawks put pressure on the Blue Devils during the second half with few very close chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The dry period ended with MacKinnon’s decisive goal, bringing on double overtime.
Head Coach Don D’Ambra was impressed with the Hawks’ play through the entire game.
“I felt like we were pressing them, so I was glad we were finally able to put one in the net,” D’Ambra said. “We hadn’t scored in a few games, so it took the pressure off. They relaxed after that goal, so it was very opportunistic and avoided the loss for us, so it was good.”
The momentum shifted in the Hawks’ favor following their goal, but it was not enough to get the win. A tie is a favorable result for the Hawks going into conference play, though they have lost their last four match-ups.
“We’ve been having a tough time with a lot of road games and a lot of guys are exhausted and sore, and I think this gives us a fresh start,” MacKinnon said. “We feel that we’re 0-0 going into this new part of the season. We’re building confidence and putting the right pieces together, so I think we’re going to go in there and do our thing.”
D’Ambra is similarly optimistic about the remainder of the Hawks’ season.
“I think we learned a lot about ourselves in the front half of our season,” D’Ambra said. “We’ve been watching a lot of film, studying our games. We have a lot of young guys playing right now, and we’ve had some injuries, so we know what we need to do to be successful and win games.”
The Hawks have their first conference game of the season against Dayton University on Oct. 4 in Ohio. The team will return to their home turf on Oct. 7 for a match against George Mason University at 7 p.m.