A weekend away in Galloway, New Jersey was far from a vacation for the John Carroll University men’s soccer team. The Blue Streaks traveled to the east coast for the Stockton Seashore Classic and a two-game weekend slated against The College of New Jersey and Richard Stockton College.
The Blue Streaks confidently entered Friday’s game after a 5-1 demolition of Muskegon Community College on August 30.
JCU kicked off Friday, Sept. 6’s game against the College of New Jersey with a bang. On just the second shot of the game, junior Kevin Pachuta found the back of the net, rocketing a shot by the Lions’ keeper to give the Blue Streaks the 1-0 lead.
While the Blue Streaks peppered the opposing keeper with shots, the team couldn’t find the back of the net again by the time halftime rolled around. The Blue Streaks headed into the break with a 1-0 lead and a 10-2 shot advantage.
The College of New Jersey wasted no time once the second half began. Just 24 seconds into the period, on just the Lions’ third shot of the game, Sean Etheridge slotted one past sophomore goalkeeper Zach Fehrenbach and knot the game up at one.
JCU soon struck back. In the 66th minute, junior defender Jimmy Mattina headed in a corner kick off the foot of senior Brian Potocnik. After taking the 2-1 lead, the Blue Streaks played lock-down defense, only allowing one more shot the rest of the game, to start off the weekend right with a win in game one of the Seashore Classic.
“This weekend was another great all-around team win,” said Potocnik. “We are continuing to work on our weaknesses and build on our strengths. As we get closer to October and OAC play, Friday’s win was exactly the confidence builder we needed.”
Unfortunately for JCU, game two of the weekend was not so kind. The roles were reversed, as Richard Stockton College beat the Blue Streaks, scoring two goals in the first five minutes en route to a 4-0 victory.
After Richard Stockton College’s two early goals, JCU looked to respond quickly. JCU outshot the Ospreys 4-0 over the next 15 minutes, including a shot that ricocheted off the post in the 6th minute. Nevertheless, the Blue Streaks just could not find a way to slip it past the Stockton keeper.
The Ospreys added one goal more before half to go up 3-0, and that’s when head coach Hector Marinaro decided to put junior Derek Jenkins in the net.
Jenkins played well in his season debut, facing six shots and only allowing one goal, which was essentially unreachable thanks to some technical passing in the box by the Ospreys.
At the end of the day, the Blue Streaks lost 4-0, but brighter skies are ahead as their home opener is on the horizon.
“Playing on the road is always much tougher than being in front of your home crowd, especially when playing good competition,” said Potocnik.
Editor’s Note: The John Carroll University men’s soccer team defeated Denison University 5-1 in the team’s home opener at Don Shula Stadium. Head over to jcusports.com for a full game recap and boxscore.