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Men’s soccer falls ahead of critical run as season winds down

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Men’s soccer falls ahead of critical run as season winds down
The Mules suffered a heartbreaking loss against conference foe, Johns Hopkins on Oct. 5.

On Oct. 2, the Men’s soccer team fell to defending Centennial Conference (C.C.) Champions Haverford with a final score of 3-2. After going up 2-0 with a late first-half goal from Victor Jacobs ‘21 and an early second-half goal from Stephen Carton ‘22, Haverford stormed back with three goals to secure a comeback victory over the Mules. It was a tough loss for a team that has been playing well in all of their games, even in losses. 

This Saturday, the team took on Johns Hopkins, where they were unlucky and ultimately lost by a score of 1-0. The Mules performed well on both attack and defense, outshooting the Jays 20-6. However, Hopkins was able to take advantage of a late play with 20 minutes left on the clock that would end up being the only goal of the game.

Goalkeeper Raymond Leto ‘20 points to this ending and the team’s lack of shots on goal as big reasons for the upsetting defeat. “We played a good game against Hopkins, but the biggest factor that contributed to our loss was obviously not being able to put a ball in the back of the net,” said Leto.

“We ended the game with more shots, but Hopkins was able to score with the little opportunity they had all game, which ultimately lost us the game,” Leto added.

His teammate, defender Jordan Cimring ‘20, shares a similar opinion. “To outshoot a team 20-6 and not find a goal is very disheartening,” said Cimring. “There weren’t any factors that contributed to the loss other than [the fact that] luck was not on our side.”

“Sometimes you get chances during a game that fall your away, and sometimes you don’t. Hopkins had one lucky break and took the chance,” Cimring followed up. 

The Mules outplayed the Jays for much of the game but just could not find a way to score, having some tough breaks along the way.

“We had some great chances, including one that hit the crossbar,” Cimring said. 

“Other than a fluke goal, there wasn’t really much that went wrong in the second half. We have to find ways to put the ball in the net, but I think it was a great second-half performance,” he added.

Although the team is 0-3-1 in C.C. play, this was the only shutout they suffered this season; they have outshot their first four league opponents 67-47. The Mules are coming up to an important stretch in their season, with five Centennial Conference games in a row to conclude it. If they continue to play the way they have been all season, the team has the potential to string together some crucial wins. 

“We have the potential to win the next five games,” said Cimring. “The guys know what the task is, and we are motivated to do our jobs. It will be a tough couple games and a battle until the end, but we are fully aware of where we want to be and know that we must get it done on Saturday against Gettysburg.”

Even with the loss to Johns Hopkins, this team has a lot to be proud of and is still in high spirits following the loss. “We have five C.C. opponents to play, and the team understands that we need to win out to move forward in the conference,” said Leto. “We are going into the next five games with our heads held high and positive energy on our shoulders; without that mindset, it is hard to compete in this league,” he made clear. 

The team is not fixating on the loss, but is instead focusing on the positives from the game. “I think it was one of our most complete performances. We defended as one unit and worked for each other. An away game at Hopkins is one of the toughest places to play in Division 3 soccer, so to drive three hours and outshoot, even outplay, one of the most dominant teams in the division is no easy task. We know how disappointing it was to not get a result, but we are ready to take the way we played into the next game,” Cimring stated.

Once again, the two men are on the same page, as Leto is in complete agreement with his fellow teammate. “We can look at this game as a lesson,” Leto said. “It goes to show we can compete at the highest level, and we can use that motivation to go forward.”

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