The Rams (0-13-1, 0-8-0 MEC) fell by a 2-1 score in overtime Sunday afternoon at home against the Blue Knights (8-5-0, 6-3-0 MEC) of Urbana University.
Despite being at a severe disadvantage in shots (33-4), the Rams made the most out of their limited opportunities offensively early on. Senior forward Jeff Kammerer made the score 1-0 in favor of the Rams with a beautiful goal at the 24:04 mark thanks to an excellent pass from junior midfielder Justin Daniels.
The Rams defense did allow a high volume of shots (33), including 16 on goal. More often than not, however, senior goalkeeper Jacob Clements came through when needed most. His 13 saves really helped the Rams keep their lead and give confidence to the team.
At halftime, the Rams were still out in front by a 1-0 score, as the Blue Knights had to go back to the drawing board. No matter what they tried, they could not get the ball past Clements.
In the second half, the Blue Knights’ adjustments seemed to simply consist of launching more and more shots Clements’ direction, as the Blue Knights took 21 shots in the second half alone. They kept trying to a chink in the Rams’ defensive armor, but largely were unable to do so.
With the game’s fate still in question, the Blue Knights finally broke through thanks to a goal by sophomore forward Jacob Wischmeier at the 81:35 mark. Wischmeier’s goal gave his team a spark when they needed it most, tying the game at 1-1 with precious time remaining.
The game would then proceed to go into overtime. Just about five minutes into the overtime session, the Rams committed an extremely costly error inside of the penalty box that gave the Blue Knights a chance to win the game.
At the 95:48 mark, sophomore defender Harry Tamplin sent the ball to the back of the net, giving the Blue Knights a 2-1 win.
Clements put forth a valiant effort for the Rams, as he was bombarded all game long with countless, accurate shots in his direction. The Blue Knights registered 17 corner kicks in the game, a number far too high for any goalkeeper to have to handle.
Tamplin, sophomore midfielder Jasminko Dizdarevic, and junior midfielder Antoine Ravera, with two, three, and four shots on goal, respectively, kept constant pressure on Clements. The Blue Knights displayed a balanced attack, so the Rams could not concentrate on just stopping any one particular Blue Knight, making them even more difficult to stop.
Both teams played hard and physical, particularly as the game went along. The Rams posted 14 fouls compared to the Blue Knights’ 12.
Despite surrendering an early goal, junior goalkeeper Daniel McNicholas and the Blue Knights’ defense really locked down the Rams’ attack after that first goal. Allowing just three more Rams’ shots after Kammerer’s goal, the Blue Knights’ defense stiffened when it needed to the most.
Junior midfielder Callum Ward-Ashton had the Rams’ other two shots on goal, but could not squeeze one past McNicholas to extend the Rams’ narrow lead.
The Blue Knights’ were able to communicate well as a team, as they used this to their advantage in controlling possession in the match.
As the Rams have been searching for their first win all season, this one was particularly hard to swallow.
On Wednesday, the Rams will be aiming to play a complete game when they go on the road to face Notre Dame (Ohio). Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com