While many were still drying the sweat from the exhausting heat of summer, the John Carroll University soccer team was quite busy this past week.
Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled away from Don Shula Stadium to begin their quest for successful seasons.
The fortunes of both squads, however, could not have been more opposite. The men were able to squeeze out an important non-conference victory against defending NCAC Champion Denison, while the Lady Blue Streaks ended the week winless in three contests.
The women’s team, who placed third in the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2009, did nearly everything right except bulge the twine in the season opener at Hiram College.
The Blue Streaks were able to manage six shots in the first half. Sophomore midfielder Stephanie Takeuchi was able to net the only shot on goal for Hiram, but it slipped past JCU senior goaltender Molly Gradowski at the 25:20 minute mark of the first half and gave them a lead they would carry into the second half.
“We still had confidence because we knew we were the better team and we were determined to work back from a deficit,” said junior forward Colleen Harmon.
The Blue Streaks continued their frenzied offensive assault in the second half, but Hiram’s senior goaltender Emily Bristol would turn aside all six shots directed toward the goal.
In all, ten JCU players tallied at least one shot, eight of which came in the second half.
Alas, the strong goaltending of Hiram was able to outlast the onslaught of opportunity as the Blue Streaks fell by a 1-0 count.
The weekend wasn’t any gentler to the Lady Streaks as they travelled north to participate in the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Rachel Miller Memorial Tournament.
The first opponent was the host R.I.T. squad.
Freshman midfielder Genny Goergen got things started in the 61st minute for JCU as she knocked in the first goal of the 2010 campaign, which was also the first of her collegiate career.
However, the lead was short lived.
The equalizer came in the 67th minute off the foot of Kasey Dobrodziej. RI.T. went on to win in an overtime as they dominated with five shots to JCU’s zero.
Gradowski was solid in goal, stopping nine shots.
The next day JCU would once again drop to SUNY Courtland in overtime by a score of 1-0.
The men’s team was able to fare much better in their lone game last week against defending NCAC Champion Denison.
Tarnished by injuries to three starters, the Blue Streaks remained even keel even after they surrendered the opening goal to the Big Red.
“It was encouraging coming back from a deficit,” said senior midfielder Mike Zumerling. “You could see from our players that we wanted it and weren’t going to stop until we got it.”
The goal by Denison emboldened the fast-paced Streaks who eventually took advantage of a penalty kick.
Senior Jeff Kosek had his initial kick stopped by goaltender Matt Wagner, but the undeterred senior took advantage of Wagner’s poor positioning to score the tying goal on the rebound.
Senior Joe Ciachhi dissolved any notions of overtime in the 89th minute when he slid home a pass from junior Corey Rider behind Wagner.
The hard fought victory exemplified the depth of this JCU team who were without 2009 starters Jake Milli, Thor Eriksen and Andrew Fatigati.
“Everyone can play at a high level. It shows the versatility of this team,” said Zumerling.
The men will head to Fredonia, N.Y., over the weekend to participate in the Clarion Hotel Soccer Classic.
The next home match for Hector Marinaro’s squad doesn’t come until Sept. 25 when they host Misericordia University.
The women’s team will host their home opener on Friday when Grove City College comes to town for a 2 p.m. game.
They’ll then host Oberlin College at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday in the friendly confines of Don Shula Stadium.
Editor’s Note: Just before this edition of The Carroll News went to print, the men’s soccer team took on Notre Dame College. Full details of the game are available at www.jcusports.com