The men’s soccer played two games in the Bob Allen Nissan Classic in Danville, Ky. this weekend. The Eagles dominated Spalding University (Ky.) Friday, winning 4-0, but lost to Centre College (Ky.) 3-2 Saturday. The squad’s record now stands at 2-2-1 on the season.
The team is disappointed by the loss to Centre but is still feeling confident about the upcoming season and eagerly anticipating the return of a couple injured players.
“Obviously, the season has had a pretty rocky start, especially with the expectations we had for ourselves before our first game,” senior goalkeeper Aram Keteyian said. “But we’ve started to score goals more frequently, and we’re moving in the right direction. This is easily the most talented Emory team I’ve been on. When we get a few guys 100 percent healthy again, there will be no limit to what we can accomplish this year.”
Sophomore forward Dylan Price set the stage for Friday’s game with a goal in the seventh minute.
“I think we’ve had an adequate start to the season, and we’ve let a few results slip through our hands,” Price said. “That being said, we’ve got a lot of talent, and things are still coming together. I’m optimistic about our upcoming games. I believe we can definitely compete for a UAA championship, which would give us a bid to the tournament.”
Spalding’s Stephen Hubert shot twice on goal in the 24th minute of the game but was unable to get the ball past Keteyian. Minutes later, junior Andrew Jones scored for the Eagles off an assist from freshman TJ Atchison, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Emory came out of the gate playing hard in the second half. The squad extended their lead to 3-0 in the 52nd minute when freshman forward Matt Sherr found the back of the net off an assist from freshman midfielder Connor Curtin.
In the 80th minute, sophomore Zachary Rosenberg sealed the Eagles’ victory with an unassisted 4th goal.
“Friday’s game against Spalding was a great overall team effort,” Head Coach Sonny Travis said. “Lots of young guys got a chance to play; that was a good thing.”
In Saturday’s loss to Centre, the Eagles allowed two goals in the first 10 minutes of play, both coming on second-chance opportunities for Centre.
Centre’s third goal came off a free kick in the 32nd minute. Senior midfielder Andrew Natalino scored the only two Eagle goals of the game.
His first goal came at the 13:05 mark, taking the ball into the box after beating a defender on a long run and sending the ball past the goalkeeper. His second goal, and third of the season, came off a penalty kick in the 73rd minute.
“The first 15 minutes of Saturday’s game we had some defensive lapses, but I felt like we dominated the rest of the match,” Travis said. “Natalino is learning a new position, but that was a breakout game for him. Things are starting to come together.”
Despite the loss, the Eagles took away many positives from the game.
“Unfortunately, the mistakes we’ve made have resulted in the ultimate punishment – goals against – but as we move forward and play better teams, we have seen that these mistakes are really starting to limit themselves; the positives are definitely outweighing any negatives at this point,” Keteyian said.
Natalino is also confident about what the future holds for the team.
“There are still a few issues that we need to work out, but the rest of the season is looking very promising,” Natalino said. “Different guys are stepping up every game, which is always a great sign.”
The squad next takes the field Wednesday, facing Oglethorpe University at 5:30 p.m.
“Oglethorpe is an excellent team this year, one of the stronger teams,” Travis said. “We are going to have to play an outstanding game, but our first five games have certainly prepared us for this big game. We are going in ready.”
– By Nicola Braginsky