The John Carroll men’s soccer team is off to a fast start, amassing 11 goals in their first two games while allowing none.
Behind the electrifying play of senior Jeff Kosek, the Blue Streaks defeated Malone University on Sept. 1 to open their season at Don Shula Stadium, winning 6-0. The defense, lead by senior Steve Rock, played superbly, allowing only one shot to be peppered at senior goalkeeper Matt DeMarchi. Life was good for DeMarchi, who saved the lone shot to earn his first shutout of the season.
“They [the defense] played great,” said DeMarchi. “We knew coming into the season that our defense would be our identity. To see this many goals scored the first two games is just a plus.”
“Our offense was clicking on all cylinders,” said Rock. “It was good to see.”
While Kosek chipped in three goals, freshman Thor Eriksen, junior Andew Fatigati and sophomore Ben Vietmeier also got tallies in the goal scoring column.
Three days later, the scoring continued in bunches, as JCU defeated Saginaw Valley State University 5-0.
Sophomore Corey Rider led the Blue Streaks with two goals against the Cardinals, who compete at the NCAA’s Division II level.
Junior Brendan McCreary, senior Joshuah Tatro and Eriksen also found the back of the net for the Blue Streaks.
The game wasn’t a complete success though, as Kosek suffered a broken tibia and will be out for the remainder of his senior season.
Rock is confident that the injury to Kosek won’t hinder the team from achieving the ultimate goal that the team set in the preseason: to win the Ohio Athletic Conference title.
“His loss will definitely be felt,” Rock said of the senior leader. “He’s a huge part of the offense, but hopefully the other guys will pick up the slack.”
As far as losing their top returning scorer from a season ago, it won’t be used as an excuse, Rock said.
“Good teams don’t use these kinds of losses as excuses. I’m sure the other guys are ready to step up and make plays.”
Meanwhile, the women’s team got off to a rough start this season. After losing a tough overtime match against Hiram College in their home opener, it was on to western New York for the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Rachel Miller Tournament.
In their opening game in western New York, JCU was turned back 5-1 by SUNY Cortland. Sophomore Rachel Grdina scored the lone goal for the Blue Streaks.
“Cortland is a good team, and we knew that coming in,” said senior midfielder Sarah DiPalma. “It was 0-0 at half, and they came out and got two quick goals. We just needed to simply play better.”
Up next for both the men’s and women’s team is this weekend’s third annual ‘Carroll Classic,’ hosted within the friendly confines of Don Shula Stadium.
Four men’s teams and four women’s teams will do battle in University Heights, with all eight matches having pre-determined opponents.
The men’s team will play Transylvania University on Friday at 7 p.m. and Hiram College on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The women’s team will play Grove City College on Friday at 1 p.m. and Case Western Reserve University on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Both John Carroll teams will have their Saturday games broadcast on tape delay by SportsTime Ohio.
According to DiPalma, it’s important for the women’s team to come out strong.
“We definitely need to play a complete game. I’m confident the home-field advantage will help us,” said Rock. “We always seem to play our best in the Carroll Classic.”
That is evidenced by last year’s performance which saw the men’s and women’s team combined to go 4-0 while outscoring their opponents 21-1.
The men’s team easily disposed of Culver-Stockton College 5-1, and then knocked off Anderson University by a score of 3-0.
The women’s team knocked off Culver-Stockton 12-0, setting a school record for goals scored in a game. The Blue Streaks came back the next day and knocked off Olivet College in a 1-0 contest.