By: Sarabeth Cuddihy ~Staff Photographer~
The game had all the makings of a night to remember: a record crowd of 2,178 people were in attendance, the opposition was crosstown rival University of Cincinnati and the Xooligans were in full force wearing their togas.
There was an incredible atmosphere as the stands were packed.
As a result of maintaining possession within the Bearcats’ defensive third for much of the match, the Musketeers walked away with a 3-0 victory.
Senior midfielder Garrett Halfhill scored two goals and senior Will Walker delivered the nail in the coffin with a third goal for the Musketeers.
Head coach Andy Fleming praised his seniors after the game for their leadership in preserving the team’s high energy and constant pressure—even when their lead increased to a two-goal advantage before halftime.
Despite a barrage of shots on target, the scoring did not start until the 25th minute when junior midfielder Kyle Martin placed across into the middle for Halfhill to tap in.
Following a Bearcats foul, Halfhill headed in a Musketeer set piece for his second goal of the night with only eight minutes left in the first half.
The second half would not have as much excitement until Walker found the back of the net from 15 yards out.
While many are drawn in by the offense’s impressive stat line of three goals on three assists, the Musketeer defense made a fierce statement Sept. 13.
In comparison to Xavier’s 14 shots (six of which were on goal), UC only managed to get off seven shots (two of which were on target and both were saved by senior goalkeeper Eric Osswald).
With the win, Xavier improves to 3-2-0 and remains unbeaten against the Bearcats since 2009.
For the Bearcats, UC suffered its third loss of the season and have yet to crack into the win column in 2014.
Xavier men’s soccer will travel this weekend to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell before returning home for a match next week against Loyola Marymount University (Calif.)