By: Andrew Utz ~Staff Writer~
Cheers rang across the Xavier Soccer Complex as the starting lineups were announced for the soccer match-up on Nov. 7.
As part of events for the final home game of the season. Five Musketeers were honored at senior night.
The game marked the final home game for seniors Garrett Halfhill, Hill, Osswald, Owen Steinwall and Walker. The quintet is Xavier’s winningest class with 48 wins thus far.
An explosive year for the Muskies utilized an unbreakable defense and timely scoring.
In the most recent rankings posted by NCAA.com, Xavier came in at No. 18.
A 2-0 win over the Butler Bulldogs catapulted the team as it gains momentum heading into the Big East Tournament.
The goals came from freshman Matt Vasquenza and sophomore Jalen Brown. Brown’s goal marked his third this season and Vasquenza’s sixth.
Xavier’s first goal came in the 28th minute after a cross from senior Matt Hill.
The cross found the head of senior Will Walker, who put it back into the box.
Brown tipped it in the sequence, and the ball found the foot of Vasquenza, who buried it in the back of the net.
An insurance goal was added in the second half. Walker found Vasquenza after Butler turned over the ball in midfield.
The freshman ran toward the net, breaking away from the Bulldog defense. The goalkeeper came out on Vasquenza, deflecting the shot. Brown was there to collect the free ball and send it home.
Senior goalkeeper Eric Osswald had his 10th shutout this year.
He set the school record for the most shutouts in a season, surpassing the previous record of nine.
The win put Xavier at second place in the Big East standings, which is the highest finish in team history.
This gives the team a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament, facing either Georgetown or Marquette on Nov. 14.
The bye places Xavier immediately into a semifinal match, with the final slated for Nov. 16.
Xavier was competitive against both potential opponents in the regular season. Against Marquette, the Muskies won 1-0 with a goal from Brown. This was the first home loss for Marquette since 2013.
Against Georgetown, Xavier suffered a tough 1-0 loss.
On the other side of the table, league leader Creighton also got a bye in the first round and looks to play either Villanova or Providence.
As they approach conference play, the Musketeers look to be on top of their game to have a shot at the tournament championship.