This past week has been a good one for the men’s soccer team after winning three consecutive games at home. Winning Wednesday night, 2-0, Friday evening, 3-2 and Sunday afternoon 2-1. The Tigers are now 3-2 for the season and looking to keep up their winning streak.
The start of the season has been a shift for the Tigers.
“First and foremost, we’ve been able to get nearly 30 players on the field, about a third of those being freshmen,” said Coach Burgess. “Every second of game play is a learning experience. And it’s that individual growth, when meshed with the full team, that will get this program back on track. The downside of rotating more than two dozen guys through each 90 minute match is it’s harder to establish and maintain consistency of play. But that’s a short term sacrifice for long term benefit.”
The Tigers are making strides to improve the team all around.
Men’s Soccer v.
Wednesday night was a shut-out for the Tigers as they took on the Muskies from Muskingum University, winning 2-0.
The Tigers scored both of their goals in the first half but prevented the Muskies from getting close to the goals. Alberto Zaragoza, ’19, scored the first goal after beating out the goalie and landing a shot in the net.
The second goal of the evening was made by Evan Dinopoulos, ’21, who took a shot and made it in with an assist from Will Stephens, ’22.
“We have great senior leadership on and off the field,” stated Coach Burgess. “We’re seeing veteran players carry out their responsibilities and freshmen giving us full effort even though things seem to be moving very fast around them right now. That’s part of the process.”
Witt walked away with a total of eight fouls and 19 shots in comparison to the Muskie’s 23 fouls and three shots. Zaragoza lead in shots with a total of six. There were a total of five yellow cards given in the entire game, four to Muskingum and one was given to David Quayle, ’21.
Men’s Soccer v.
Friday night, the Tigers took their second consecutive home win over Bluffton, winning 3-2.
Zaragoza was on fire in the first half, scoring two goals. But the Tigers allowed one to slip by from Bluffton. Not to be outdone, Stephens took a shot that snuck by the goalie making the score 3-1 at the half.
In the second half, the Tigers fought hard against the Beavers. There were eight shots taken by the Tigers, none of which made their way into the goal. That didn’t deter Witt from trying to stay ahead. With 15 minutes left in the game, the Beavers were able to score their second goal of the night.
There were a total of four yellow cards given, two to each team, both of Wittenberg’s being awarded in the first half. The Tigers had a total of 14 fouls to the Beavers’ 16, six corner kicks to their two and four total saves.
This was Jason Bowen’s, ’22, second game started as a Tiger and his first win.
“We’ve outscored our opponents 5-2 over the past couple of games,” said Coach Burgess. “Those are positives upon which we will continue to build. Muskingum and Bluffton played hard for 90 minutes and really pushed us which is exactly what we want and need. I have no doubt that Olivet will do the same on Sunday” and that they did.
Men’s Soccer v. Olivet College
On Sunday’s soggy afternoon, the Tigers snagged their third win, 2-1, over Olivet.
The Tigers started off well with a goal from Zaragoza, 11 minutes into the half. This goal was followed by one from Eli Esterline, ’22, with an assist from Austin Lewis, ’19. Putting the Tigers ahead in the first half, they were able to keep the Comets from scoring until the second half.
Coming out after halftime, it took the Comets 17 minutes to score on the Tigers, putting the score at 2-1. The Tigers kept pushing to score with attempts made by Quayle, River Banks, ’21, and Esterline, but to no avail. The game ended with a third home win for the Tigers.
Overall, the Tigers are averaging 14.2 shots per game and have made eight goals this season. Look out as the Tigers hit the road Wednesday, Sept. 12 to take on Mount St. Joseph University and then will return home to play Albion College on Friday Sept. 14.
To conclude an exceptional week for the Tigers, Coach Burgess stated, “In anticipation of a large freshman class, we front loaded our schedule in hopes that it would reveal our strengths and weaknesses both individually and collectively, while providing a full slate of opponents rather than primarily relying on training among ourselves. After Olivet then we [team will] travel Wednesday to Mt. St. Joe and then come back home for Albion next Friday. From that point forward we’ll settle into a more traditional rhythm meaning additional time between games and more training sessions. Bottom line, we’re in a good place and headed in the right direction, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. About that, we’re really excited.”
On Sept. 10, Zaragoza was awarded NCAC’s Player of the Week for his performance as he scored four goals this past week.