Nine years have passed since the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season champion has been the John Carroll University men’s soccer team. The wait is over.
In its last away conference game, JCU defeated Capital University, 3-2, to extend the team’s winning streak to 11. The Blue Streaks improved to a perfect 7-0 in the OAC and earned the OAC regular season title.
JCU’s three first half goals made the difference in the win over the Crusaders. Senior Brian Potocnik, who was named OAC Player of the Week for the third consecutive week, earned a point in each scoring play for the Blue and Gold, earning two goals and an assist in the 3-2 victory over the Crusaders that improved JCU’s record to 14-3 on the season.
After the Blue Streaks fell behind 1-0 in the 10th minute, the JCU offense had their work cut out for them.
In the 39th minute, Potocnik found freshman Jacob Lombardo streaking into the box. The pass and one touch shot to the bottom left corner tied the score at one.
Lombardo added his fourth goal of the year with his first half effort. The freshman has played a large role in the JCU offense that exploded in the conference play.
From there, a scoring barrage ensued for the Blue and Gold.
Less than five minutes later, sophomore Justin Miller found Potocnik in the open. A shot from the captain found the back of the net, pushing the Blue Streaks ahead in the 41st minute of the first half.
Just four minutes after that, Potocnik was called onto take a penalty kick. With time winding down in the first half, Potocnik buried his second goal of the game, earning his third point of the match. With that tally, the captain has a team-best 16 goals of the year.
The 3-goal first half was all the squad needed, as sophomore goalkeeper Zach Fehrenbach gave up just one goal in the second half. Fehrenbach made five saves during the game, improving his record to 4-2 on the year and preserving the 11-game win streak JCU has had since a 3-2 win over Case Western Reserve University on Sept. 16.
The impressive run has earned the team its first OAC regular season title since 2005 and the first OAC title since the team won the tournament in 2007.
With the OAC tournament starting in the next two weeks, head coach Hector Marinaro is excited to see what his team is capable of.
“We have put ourselves in a great position going forward,” said Marinaro. “We have no more road trips and have the opportunity to host all playoff games. The team loves playing at home and we hope that the JCU student body will help give us a huge home field advantage once the playoffs start next week.”
JCU also took the field on Tuesday, Oct. 28 as they faced off against the University of Mount Union. Behind two more Potocnik goals, the Blue Streaks defeated the Purple Raiders 5-3 at Don Shula Stadium under the lights. The victory improved JCU’s conference record to 8-0.
After the victory over the Mount Union, the Blue Streaks stand at 15-3 on the season with just one game left to play against Muskingum University on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m at Don Shula Stadium.