The Shepherd University men’s and women’s soccer teams have struggled against their opponents recently as the halfway point of the 2013 season approaches. The women’s soccer team currently holds a 5-4-2 overall record. However, their 2-3-1 conference record has dropped them to fifth in the Mountain East rankings. On Oct. 2, the women’s soccer team traveled to West Liberty where the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie. Both the Hilltoppers and the Rams were evenly matched from the start of the game, and it appeared neither would get on the scoreboard before halftime. However, at the 34:00 mark, Courtney Webb scored off an assist from Alexa Gray to give West Liberty a lead into the break. After halftime, the Rams looked to be regrouped and subsequently, they had more success pushing the ball up field and taking shots on goal. At the 63:55 point of the match, they tied the affair when senior Erika Martin scored on an impressive header courtesy of a well-placed corner kick by fellow senior Kelsey Eagan. The Shepherd defense countered West Liberty’s attempts to regain the lead. However, they failed to score a second goal and settled for a 1-1 draw.
The women’s soccer team fell to Mountain East Conference rival Urbana University by the score of 2-0 on Oct. 5. The Rams controlled the game on both sides of the ball throughout the first half. However, despite solid defense and several shot attempts, they were unable to record a goal and the two teams remained scoreless until the 58:49 mark when Brittany Mazzu scored an unassisted goal to give Urbana a 1-0 lead. The Blue Knights increased their lead and added a second goal to complete the scoring in the game at the 72:09 mark when Mckensey Cross scored off a feed from Emily Retterner.
Despite knocking off California University of Pennsylvania on Oct. 1 for their second win of the season, the Shepherd men’s soccer team currently holds a lackluster 2-7-1 overall record and they find themselves ranked last in the Mountain East Conference standings. Cal tallied the first goal of the match at the 25:18 mark when Chris Hunkele scored on an assist from Jeffrey Kyei. Despite falling behind, the Rams quickly responded and tied the game before the break when junior Kyle Ransom scored on a stunning header that was made possible off a cross from junior Fenand Feukeu. The Vulcans came out of halftime and immediately took back the lead when Cory Kozilla scored a goal at the 51:27 mark. Nonetheless, the Rams responded again and tied the game at 2-all when senior Kevin Doyle scored on a pass from Feukeu. With time winding down in regulation, sophomore Jonathan Rodriguez recorded a goal at the 87:58 mark, which gave the Rams their first lead in the contest. The goal proved to be the game winner as the Rams held the lead for the remainder of the game and earned the 3-2 win.
The Rams battled the hot temperatures and Urbana University at the Shepherd Soccer Complex on Oct. 5, but despite scoring the first two goals of the match, they lost by the score of 3-2. During the first half, Shepherd controlled both sides of the field and happened to be successful in preventing the Blue Knights’ ability to attack the net. At the 12:10 mark, Chris Mashinski scored on a penalty kick to give the Rams a 1-0 lead, and just eight minutes later the Rams padded their lead when Fernand Feukeu tallied a goal off an accurate pass from junior defender Max Psillas. However, the Rams would fail to score for the duration of the match. Tyler Wason single-handedly tied the game for Urbana by scoring two unassisted goals during the second half. At the 79:09 mark, the Blue Knights captured the lead for the first time in the game when Ben Fitzpatrick scored on a pass from Lewis Dunne. Shepherd’s early lead proved to not be enough and they failed to provide a response to Urbana’s three-second half goals.
It is definitely disappointing to see the men’s team lose a two-goal lead, especially when the team began the match so brightly. They are away to Concord on Oct. 9. It would make for a much easier trip should they come back victorious. The Rams host Charleston soon after. At this point in the season, victories are nothing short of vital.