Sports

Men’s soccer wins first two matches of new season

The Musketeers defeated Eastern Illinois and IUPUI at home over the weekend

By Jake Geiger

After a shortened 2020 season, the Xavier men’s soccer team needed a few early wins to start the season on the right foot. 

They began their 2021 season last Friday against the Eastern Illinois Panthers and notched a 1-0 victory. 

The Musketeers capped the weekend off with a battle against the IUPUI Jaguars and cruised to a 3-1 victory with an overall record of 2-0. 

Their 1-0 win on Friday marked Xavier’s fourth straight opening day win. The game against Eastern Illinois was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. but began at 8:30 p.m. due to a rain delay. 

“It’s not the easiest thing to go play after that delay, and I also want to thank our fans because we had a really good crowd initially…considering the weather and the delay, I thought it was pretty good,” Xavier Head Coach Andy Fleming said. 

It was a quiet game until the 80th minute when sophomore midfielder Jerome Jolly scored the lone goal of the game on an unassisted corner kick. 

The ball just squeezed into the bottom left corner after hitting the post. Xavier would keep the Panthers scoreless for the remaining ten minutes to win 1-0.

Jerome Jolly’s goal was the game-winner against Eastern Illinois on Friday, and he contributed again on Sunday with a goal off the bench in the 41st minute that proved to be the game-winner for the Musketeers.

 Xavier held a 12-8  advantage in shots and a 6-1 advantage in shots on goal. 

Felix Boe-Tangen, Karsen Henderlong and Paul Bogarin all had three shots and grad student goalkeeper Matt Rosenberg paced the Musketeer defense with a shutout. 

“This team has not won a game in a while. This team finished the season last year on the wrong side of a couple disappointing games,” Fleming said. 

“In my experience, usually when you need a win, and you’re really fighting to get one, this is how it is. Late goal, funny goal, kind of an ugly goal, hang on late. Until you learn how to win games, that’s what it’s going to be like,” Fleming added about Xavier’s win. 

Xavier had a quick turnaround on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Corcoran Field as they battled IUPUI. 

Xavier got off to a quick start as Henderlong, a senior forward, notched his first goal of the season in the 24th minute. The assist came from grad student midfielder Justus Kauppinen. 

The Jaguars quickly answered as fifth-year midfielder Cameron Haegele scored an unassisted goal in the 25th minute. Xavier needed a spark to go into the first half which they got from Jolly, who came off the bench and scored the game-winning goal in the 41st minute off an assist from Taylor Rhinehart. 

Heading into the half with a 2-1 lead, Xavier had the confidence they needed to build this lead. The insurance goal came from Kauppinen in the 83rd minute with an assist from Henderlong. 

Rosenberg played the whole game in goal. The victory moved Xavier to 2-0 in non-conference play and has now built momentum for the tougher part of the non-conference slate. 

“I thought, mentally, we had a resilient game, and once again our bench carried us,” Fleming said about Xavier’s second win of the season. 

Xavier’s next opponents are going to be difficult tests as they head to Bloomington, Ind. for the coveted Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. 

They will face Ohio State tomorrow at 5 p.m. Then, they follow up with the No. 1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Monday at 8 p.m., and that game will be aired on Big Ten Network Plus. 

“We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves,” Fleming said about the IU game.

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