By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
Xavier men’s soccer has been hard at work wrapping up Big East play over the past two weeks. In the latest rankings, the Musketeers are listed at 14.
Following a controversial tie versus Creighton, Andy Fleming’s squad returned to action in Milwaukee, Wis. just a week later to face the Marquette Golden Eagles, college soccer’s 15th ranked team to Xavier’s 16th at the time.
Xavier’s only goal came off the foot of sophomore forward Jalen Brown. Brown was set up by a pass from senior midfielder Owen Steinwall, winning the game.
Steinwall found Brown at the top of the box, and Brown made a move to set himself up for a shot just outside the 18-yard-box for hiss second goal of the year.
The close score made for an intense match all 90 minutes.
Despite Xavier scoring the game’s lone goal, Marquette claimed an advantage of seven shots attempted to Xavier’s five.
After the game, head coach Andy Fleming praised his seniors.
Steinwall came off the bench to set up the game’s only goal and tally the second assist of his career.
Defensively, senior goalkeeper Eric Osswald racked up three saves from the Golden Eagles’ on target shots. The clean sheet was Osswald’s eighth of the year and establishes one of the conference’s best defenses.
The victory ends a 10 game losing streak against Marquette.
Just four days later, Xavier travelled to the nation’s capital for a matchup against the 13th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas (another top-25 matchup in the very deep Big East Conference).
It was here that the Musketeers lost their first conference game of the year as well as their number nine spot in the college rankings in heartbreaking fashion.
Xavier had been riding a nine-game winning streak this season, and Georgetown had never won against the Musketeers.
In poor weather conditions, both teams were held scoreless through 96 minutes.
Georgetown’s Brandon Allen added to his conference-leading goal count with a penalty kick in extra time.
Xavier unleashed immense pressure throughout the second overtime period, but a tight Georgetown defense prevailed when it needed to most.
The Musketeers’ best overtime opportunity came when Brown attempted to recreate his top of the box magic from the Marquette match a few days prior.
With a bitter flavor left in their mouth from Washington, D.C., Andy Fleming had his men’s soccer team poised to reclaim its conference dominance on Nov. 1 against Villanova.
The Musketeers caged their Wildcat opponents on a frigid Cincinnati night with a 3-0 shutout.
Senior midfielder Will Walker sent a cross into the middle that reached freshman defender Walker Andriot for the game’s first goal in the sixth minute.
Steinwall later accumulated his third career assist as freshman midfielder Josh Grant received and turned the pass into a goal in the 81st minute.
Freshman forward Eric McWoods soon followed his teammates’ lead and fired a Steinwall pass for a third and final Xavier goal.
With one more match to play on Nov. 7 against Butler, this year’s senior class of Walker, Steinwall, Osswald and defenseman Matt Hill has surpassed last year’s graduates as the winningest group in Xavier’s history.
Senior night will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 when the Bulldogs come to Xavier.