Bad Breaks for Men’s Soccer
A broken arm, a blown lead against Marist College, and an overtime loss to Marshall University were the unfortunate highlights of a tough weekend for Radford University Men’s Soccer, which wrapped up non-conference play on Sunday, Sept. 16.
On Friday, the Highlanders were itching to get back to work after six days spent preparing for the Marist College Red Foxes. RU entered the match with a record of 2-1-1, and Head coach Marc Reeves’s squad was ready to bounce back after falling to East Tennessee State University the week before. After trading attacks for most of the first period, Marist finally broke through the Radford defense in the 27th minute with a goal by Stephan Brossard. Brossard scored the goal after RU turned the ball over in their own box, and RU senior goalkeeper Ryan Taylor had almost no chance to stop the shot.
Despite giving up the early goal, Radford bounced back just three minutes later when junior midfielder Bernardo Ulmo scored his third goal of the season off of a header that bounced past Marist goalkeeper Anthony Sokalski. Junior defender Matt Janssen was credited with the assist in Ulmo’s 30th minute goal.
Junior midfielder Luis Grande, widely considered to be one of RU’s best players, kept the party going with another goal just 102 seconds after Ulmo’s score. Grande rocketed the shot past Sokalski, who was caught out of position. After 31 minutes of play, Radford wrestled the lead away from the Red Foxes and led 2-1.
After 30 minutes of uneventful play, Cupp Stadium held its col
lective breath when Grande hit the turf and struggled to get up. Trainers rushed the field, and an ambulance was called to take Grande to the hospital. After the match, Coach Reeves confirmed that Grande’s arm was broken in two places. Currently, there is no definite timetable for his return to action.
After Grande left the field and the match resumed, Marist wasted little time in striking back. Brossard scored his second goal of the night against Taylor, when he slid an unassisted shot past the RU goalkeeper. Taylor finished the night with six saves, while his Marist counterpart Sokalski finished with four.
Following Brossard’s 61st minute goal, the two squads engaged in a vicious tug-of-war for the rest of regulation time. After 90 minutes the score was still tied at 2-2, and the game was forced into overtime. After two 10-minute periods with no golden goal, the match was declared a draw.
“Marist is a very tough team to play against,” Reeves said after the match. “They’re very spirited, and very well coached. We made a few mistakes, and they really cost us. We weren’t clean enough, and sometimes we just weren’t involved in the game with a lot of big incidents happening around us. With so many injuries going on, it was hard for our guys to stay focused.”
Freshman defender Jamie Summers spoke about the match, and also about the injury to his teammate Grande.
“From where I was it sounded pretty horrible,” Summers said. “I wish Luis [Grande] the speediest of recoveries, because this team needs him. The sooner he can come back, the better.”
“It is what it is,” Ulmo said. “We tied today, but we really were expecting to win in our home opener in front of our crowd. Sometimes the game doesn’t go your way. We’ve got to do the best we can do to make sure we get the best result possible. All we can do is prepare for a tough Marshall team on Sunday.”
Speaking of that Marshall team, the Highlanders fought tooth and nail against the undefeated Thundering Herd. After dismantling UNC Asheville on Friday, Marshall was held scoreless by RU through the end of regulation. RU headed into overtime for the second consecutive match, but this time Taylor let in a goal in the 97th minute to end the match, and the weekend, on a sour note. The 1-0 loss means that Radford will enter Big South Conference play with a mark of 2-2-2. The Highlanders will host Campbell University for their next match, scheduled to kickoff on Sept. 22 at 6 pm. Campbell University for their next match, scheduled to kickoff on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.
Short URL: http://www.rutartan.com/wordpress/?p=4085