This past weekend, University Athletic Association (UAA) men’s soccer play kicked into full gear, with Emory matching up against Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Oct. 14 and Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Oct. 16. In typical UAA fashion, the Eagles had to grind their way through extra time in both matches, playing a total of 220 minutes between the two matches, coming away with a 2-1 victory against Case Western (4-7-3) and settling for a 1-1 draw in their match with Carnegie Mellon (9-2-2). Emory is now 8-3-1 on the year, and sits safely in No. 2 in the UAA standings at 2-1-1, behind 4-0 University of Chicago (Ill.) (14-0).
In their Friday match against Case Western, the Eagles started out strongly with a goal from sophomore midfielder Moustafa Khattab. However, the Eagles settled for a few too many clearances in an attempt to make it into half with the lead, allowing Case Western senior midfielder Jacob Grindel to direct a cross just inside the left post to even the score at one with only 52 seconds remaining in the first half.
Emory controlled much of the second half, but the Eagles consistently came up empty on the offensive end. The team’s best chance came in the 55th minute, when Case Western’s junior goalkeeper Calvin Boyle denied junior midfielder Christian Meyer on a breakaway. After taking an excellent pass from junior forward Jason McCartney into open space, Meyer faked a shot to slip past the first defender, but couldn’t quite finish the job as Boyle made an excellent save to maintain the tie.
“[Case Western’s] goalkeeper did a really outstanding job against us,” Head Coach Sonny Travis said. “We were creating chances, but [Boyle] kept them in the game. He might be the best goalkeeper in the conference.”
The Eagles had one final chance before the end of regulation when Khattab spun into a back heel around his defender in the Case Western box, leading to a strong shot to the upper center of the goal, only to be saved by Boyle once again. The game remained 1-1 headed into overtime.
A frightening moment came four minutes into overtime when Case Western had an open look not more than seven yards out from goal. In yet another impressive save, junior keeper Jake Deuel came up big for the Eagles, making the diving stop to keep the Eagles alive.
The golden goal came in the second overtime period when an outside shot by Emory was deflected by a Case Western defender into the goal, giving Emory the hard-earned 2-1 victory.
The draining effects of Friday’s game may have had a lingering effect on the Eagles, as they came out a little slow against Carnegie Mellon and allowing the visiting Tartans to score a goal in the second minute of play.
“Carnegie Mellon came out with high energy and put a perfect ball into the back post,” sophomore defender Evan Floersch said. “I wouldn’t say we came out flat-footed; they just executed on their restart, and this conference is all about those restarts.”
This game may have been the most physical of the season, with a total of nine yellow cards dished out, including a red to Carnegie Mellon freshman midfielder Cooper Tubiana in the 47th minute. With the red, Carnegie Mellon was forced to play a man-down to close out the game.
The Eagles responded in the 34th minute when McCartney forced the ball into the back of the net following a mad scrum in front of the Tartan goal, tying the game at one.
Floersch had nothing but praise for the Tartan’s defensive effort.
“We are used to having a high-tempo offense, but you have to give a lot of credit to Carnegie playing with only 10 men,” Floersch said. “They packed it in and really disrupted our high-tempo offense.”
Unfortunately, the Eagles were unable to capitalize on their advantage, remaining scoreless through two overtime periods to finish with the 1-1 draw.
Despite some struggles offensively, Travis felt that the lack of scoring was not a serious concern.
“They were typical UAA games where you have to grind it out and it’s close and you don’t want to make mistakes,” Travis said. “We had our opportunities, we just didn’t put it away.”
The Eagles will close out the season with four consecutive games on the road. They will get a short respite from UAA play in their next match at Covenant College (Ga.) Oct. 22.