Coaches often suggest that a team must “learn” how to win before they can really take off. That includes winning the “50-50” games – the games that could go either way.
The John Carroll University soccer programs – both the men’s and the women’s – had a pair of games that could have gone either way over the past week.
The men’s team found a way to win two games by a combined three goals while the women’s team lost one and tied one, all while surrendering just a single goal.
In men’s soccer last Tuesday night, the Blue Streaks traveled to Meadville, Pa. to challenge Allegheny College.
The game seemed stuck at a halt at 0-0. It was not until the 85th minute of the game when things changed.
Freshman Kevin McKamish put the Blue Streaks ahead for good when he made it a 1-0 game after knocking home a pass from senior David Hickey.
The Blue Streaks were able to bring home the win in their non-conference finale, helping to set the tone for their Ohio Athletic Conference opener later in the week.
The next day, Sept. 29, the women’s team also traveled to Meadville to take on the Gators from Allegheny, the 16th ranked team in Division III soccer.
They knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
The women were able to keep Allegheny from scoring and the game ended in double overtime at 0-0.
The shutout was the fourth of the season for goalkeeper Molly Gradowski.
After tying the No. 16 team in the country, it didn’t get any easier as the Blue Streaks welcomed No. 4 Otterbein College to town on Saturday afternoon.
The women played their hearts out throughout the game, preventing Otterbein from scoring at all in the first half.
It was not until the 80th minute of the game that the Cardinals were able to get on the scoreboard and pull ahead for good.
Solid team defense forced Gradowski to make just three saves in the whole game.
Although the solid defense didn’t lead to a win, the Blue Streaks took some good away from the contest.
“Even though we finished the week with a tie and a tough loss against two ranked teams, it made our team more confident knowing how we were able to compete,” said junior Rachel Grdina. “Playing these teams just made us stronger and hungrier to win our upcoming conference games.”
This loss dropped the women’s team to 3-6-2 and 0-1 in conference play.
Unlike the women, the men’s team was able to sneak one out on Saturday. They too opened the conference part of the schedule by hosting Otterbein.
The game was locked at 0-0 for all of the first half. It was not until the second half that things began to change.
After the Blue Streaks many attempts at scoring, senior Jeff Kosek was able to knock one in off a pass from sophomore Wycliffe Odhiambo that put JCU ahead 1-0.
The Blue Streaks were able to hold the lead throughout the whole game, and kept the ball in Otterbein territory for most of the game.
With one second remaining, Kosek passed the ball to Hickey who hammered it home and made it a 2-0 final.
The final score didn’t matter, but the team knew how crucial it was to start off conference play on the right foot.
“We were determined to score in the second half. We need to win every OAC game,” said Kosek, the team’s senior captain. “The defense held strong, and more shutouts like this are the key to us winning to a championship.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams play Muskingum University at Don Shula Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 16. The women play at 12 p.m. and the men follow at 2:30 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Just before this edition went to print, the men’s soccer team defeated Marietta College 5-1 for their second conference win. On Wednesday, the women’s soccer team also played Marietta. Visit jcusports.com for details.