By: Kyle Tooley ~Guest Writer~
The men’s soccer team is looking to close the season out strong in the upcoming weeks, as the Musketeers have four remaining conference games between Oct. 24 and Nov. 5. The team is excited to move onto its final games as coach Andy Fleming’s squad is building momentum fresh off a 2-1 win at Villanova, a game that saw the Musketeers down a goal with a more than four minutes remaining. This thriller came after a string of tough games, including a scoreless tie at St. John’s, a 3-0 loss at home against Providence and a 1-0 overtime loss at the feet of Georgetown.
Following the win over Villanova, senior goalkeeper Dallas Jaye was named the Big East Goalie of the Week, and junior midfielder Majed Osman was named to the conference’s Honor Roll. Jaye ranks second in the conference in both goals-against average and save percentage, while Osman notched the game-winning goal against Villanova.
Xavier, a team that has popped in and out of the NSCAA Top 25 for much of the season, did not receive a single vote in the most recent poll, likely given three straight losses. The Musketeers will finish with a mixed schedule, drawing second-to-last place Marquette at home on Oct. 24, going to Creighton to face the nationally top-ranked Blue Jays on Oct. 28, facing last-place Seton Hall at home on Halloween and traveling to Butler on Nov. 5 to face the No. 3 team in the Big East. Xavier has an opportunity to go over .500 during this stretch and finish around fourth in the conference, a solid seeding for the conference tournament that begins Nov. 8.
A 2014 Sweet 16 team, the Musketeers are aiming for a strong showing through the end of the season to secure their place in the NCAA tournament. Fans are hoping that the team’s current résumé will be enough to secure an at-large berth in the tournament, as it is bolstered by playing in one of the best soccer conferences in the country and a win at then No. 2 Notre Dame. A win over Creighton would just about do the trick, and winning the Big East tournament would give the Musketeers an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, where they could hopefully make some magic.