By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
Xavier men’s soccer recently capped off one of the most historic weeks in program history with wins over the Creighton Blue Jays and Seton Hall Pirates. For the second time this season, the Musketeers rolled into top ranked opponent’s facility last Wednesday and returned to Cincinnati with a victory by defeating Creighton, formerly the nation’s No. 1 ranked squad in the country.
Creighton was the first No. 1 team that the Musketeers have ever beaten. Earlier this season, Xavier had its first win against a No. 2 team when it won at Notre Dame. Xavier struck first when junior Majed Osman sent a cross into the box that met the head of sophomore Josh Grant, who dove to send the ball into the back of the net in the 14th minute.
However, an answer was inevitable from a Blue Jays team that has averaged more than 20 shots per game this season. With roughly 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Creighton tied the game off the foot of Lucas Stauffer.
The teams entered halftime tied at one goal apiece. A physical second half had both sides at a stalemate with the clock winding down. Despite feverous efforts, neither defense nor goalkeeper would concede another goal. Senior goalkeeper Dallas Jaye compiled a career-high eight saves.
With just more than one minute remaining in the match, sophomore forward Matt Vasquenza corralled the ball off of a deflection and sent a shot past the outstretched Creighton goalkeeper, giving Xavier the 2-1 victory. As result, Creighton adds a tally in the loss column for the first time this season. This win also marked five straight seasons of at least 10 victories for Xavier and head coach Andy Fleming.
Xavier men’s soccer then welcomed Seton Hall on Halloween night in celebration of Senior Night. In line with the night’s festivities, Xavier found offensive success through the feet of seniors Calum Latham and Alex Risdale to shutout the Pirates 3-0.
Latham opened the flood gates early, finding the back of the net just four minutes into play. Ridsdale’s first score in the 70th minute was his first in the last seven matches. Keeping the momentum going, he quickly scored again just three minutes later.
With the win, Xavier now stands at 11-4-1 on the season. This year’s senior class is now one win shy of tying the record of most wins by a single class before graduating. The regular season concludes on Nov. 9 in Indianapolis as the Musketeers face the Butler Bulldogs. Big East tournament play should begin early next week.