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Men's Soccer: For a team on the mend, conference win is best medicine

Greg Meyer

Issue date: 10/10/08 Section: Sports
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Forward RJ French during Case's 3-0 win over NYU. French, who has missed time due to injury this season, started and played for 67 minutes.
Media Credit: Zhaoyang Wang
Forward RJ French during Case's 3-0 win over NYU. French, who has missed time due to injury this season, started and played for 67 minutes.

It is amazing what healthy players can do for a soccer team. Since the fourth game of the season, the Spartans have been fighting off the injury bug. Last Saturday against New York University, the Spartans finally played with a healthy squad, and it showed. Now riding a six game win streak, Case Western handled a good NYU team, 3-0, after posting an inspirational 3-2 comeback victory against Ohio Wesleyan University earlier in the week.
The game against OWU did not start well for the Spartans. In the fifth minute the Bishops were awarded a penalty kick which they converted, putting them ahead early. Case Western would continue to receive a stiff offensive attack as the Bishops took seven more shots in the first half to the Spartans' four.
In the second half the Spartans would roar back in a scoring barrage that was led by none other than freshman Vinny Bell. "Bell has been scoring very important goals for us this year, especially at Wooster and OWU," said head coach Dan Palmer. "He is a threat to score anytime he has the ball near our opponent's goal." Bell led off the scoring in the 55th minute, his goal coming off of a loose ball in the box. He was followed by a finally healthy Matt Paglia, who made a huge run through the Bishops' defense before finding the back of the net. The last score came from sophomore Jordan Fox, who followed through on a rebounded shot by Elliot Fishman. OWU would tack on one more goal late in the game, but the defense and goalkeeper Konrad Karasek would bend but not break, giving the Spartans the win.
Saturday's incredible effort, which Palmer called "the best team effort of the last two years," was an indirect result of Wednesday night's win, according to many on the team. "OWU and NYU play similar styles of offense, and we learned from our mistakes against OWU and knew how to handle NYU," said senior Zeyad Schwen. "The biggest difference-maker, though, was the fact that it was our conference opener and everyone came out to win." It also helped that seniors Kevin Bigart, Justin Steggerda, and RJ French saw significant playing time for the first time in several games.
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