By: Kyle Isaacs
For the second time in as many years, the Xavier men’s soccer program dedicated their spring soccer game to raising funds for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati.
The Musketeers closed out their spring season with a 5-2 loss to the University of Notre Dame in the second annual Down Syndrome Awareness Classic. The game also set the record for the largest single-game crowd in Xavier soccer history, pushing the mark up to 1,256 fans.
Xavier got off to a hot start against the Irish, who were the No. 1 team in last year’s NCAA Tournament. In the 12th minute of play, sophomore Andrew Jordan put the Musketeers on the board with a goal following a corner kick.
Seven minutes later, junior Will Walker added to the score, notching a 19th minute goal to put Xavier up 2-0. “The first half was the best half we played all spring,” head coach Andy Fleming said. Fleming said he was “disappointed” in allowing five goals and mentioned that the result will leave a “bitter taste” in the mouths of the players heading into the summer.
Prior to the conclusion of the first half, the Irish netted their first goal of the game to cut the lead in half. Notre Dame came out strong in the second half, putting away four goals against the Musketeers’ defense. The match was the final tilt in the spring season for Xavier, who secured victories over Indiana University and the University of Louisville. The Musketeers will return to action in the summer.
Devin Fleming, Fleming’s daughter who has Down syndrome, was the honorary captain and started the event off with the ceremonial first kick. All of the proceeds that were raised went to “Devin’s Team” and the funds will be used in the Buddy Walk this September for Down syndrome support. According to GoXavier.com, more than $3,000 was collected prior to the game at the front gate.
Fleming was excited about the turnout for the game and hopes that this event will continue on in years to come at Xavier.