The John Carroll University men’s soccer team returned to their winning ways this past weekend.
After being shut out against Case Western Reserve University on Sept. 16 for the first time in 20 matches, JCU entered the pitch with the look of resurgence in an effort to rebound from the tough loss to CWRU. They responded, vanquishing Hiram with ease on Wednesday, Sept. 19, before traveling to Beaver Falls, Penn. on Saturday, Sept. 26 and defeating Geneva Colleåçge, 4-1.
JCU got off to a fast start at the Merriman Athletic Complex. Sophomore Dalton Browsky converted a header to the far post off of a corner from senior Kevin Pachuta. Then, with luck on the side of the Blue Streaks, the Golden Tornadoes seemed to have gotten themselves twisted around and incidentally tapped in an own goal at the 23:46 mark. The Blue and Gold held the 2-0 into the half.
To start the second half, the Blue Streaks picked up where they left off. Five minutes into the half, senior Michael Melfi rifled the ball into the net with a cross from left to right off of yet another Pachuta feed. Melfi’s goal was long awaited, as his last came on Oct. 19, 2013 against Heidleberg University.
About four minutes later, the Blue Streaks struck once more as sophomore Jesse Marinaro scored for the fourth time this season with a header to stretch the JCU lead to 4-0. The goal gave Pachuta the assist hat-trick as he assisted on all three of the squad’s goals.
Geneva finally scored in garbage time to avoid the shutout but could do no more damage, losing the matchup 4-1 and now sits at 4-3-2 on the season. JCU’s goalie, freshman Liam McIntosh, put together a solid night, with four saves to his name.
McIntosh was helped by another strong JCU defensive effort, which has now allowed one goal in their last two games.
“We’ve been focusing on defense a lot during practice the past week,” said senior defender Jimmy Mattina. “We try and pride ourselves on our defensive effort. If we can be solid defensively then we know we’re a strong enough team to go out and get some wins.”
The Blue Streaks produced their second highest scoring out put of the season with the four goal performance, falling short only to their 5-0 trouncing of St. Vincent University on Sept. 9.
The Blue and Gold dominated the Golden Tornadoes in nearly every aspect of the game. JCU finished with 17 shots to Geneva’s 12 in the contest. Five of JCU’s eight corner kicks occurred in the first half, the first of which was headed in for the squad’s first goal.
The Blue Streaks also took advantage of their opponents mistakes. Geneva was ruled offsides 4 times over the course of the game, while JCU avoided the offside bug and went the entire game without being ruled offsides. Clean play and good defense in the box, complementing a potent scoring arsenal, earned JCU their 3rd road win of the season.
The convincing win pushed the Blue Streaks to a 5-2-1 record with the non-conference slate behind them. With an amazing six goals in two games, JCU looks to continue their prolific offensive attack when they make the journey down to Ada, Ohio in a face-off against Ohio Northern University on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The matchup with ONU will be the first Ohio Athletic Conference matchup of the year for JCU. Heading into OAC play, the team is ready to work and make a splash in the conference.
“We’re feeling pretty confident as a team,” said Mattina. “We’re coming off two big wins which gives us some momentum heading into this weekend. Our focus is one game at a time, and right now, our focus is on ONU.”