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Men's Soccer: Spartans don't give or get goal in Brandeis tie

Greg Meyer

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Sports
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Justin Steggerda played 98 minutes in Case's double-OT tie against Brandeis on Saturday.
Media Credit: Zhaoyang Wang
Justin Steggerda played 98 minutes in Case's double-OT tie against Brandeis on Saturday.

The men's soccer team hit a minor pothole in the form of Brandeis University last Saturday on its road to get back into the postseason this year. The Spartans, now 9-2-1, played a marathon 110-minute match to a draw, their first tie of the season. While the outcome is certainly better than a loss and still got Case back into the national rankings at No. 16, the stalemate broke a six-game win streak for Case Western and puts the team third behind very good Rochester and Emory teams in the UAA standings.

It was not as if the Spartans played poorly, "We just played down to our opponent," said junior Jordan Cottington. From the outset of the match the team came out striking on offense. In the first 15 minutes, Case had three shots on goal. The first two by senior RJ French and the third, which was one of many close calls for the Spartans that night, came from senior Kevin Bigart. It hit the crossbar. The rest of the first period was like a chess match, with both teams trading possession of the ball and the only other opportunity for the Spartans coming on a Justin Steggerda shot saved by Brandeis goal keeper Matt Lynch. The Spartan defense played extremely well, allowing only two errant shots from the Brandeis offense.

In the second half, the Spartans saw more opportunities with three shots coming quickly from Bigart, French, and Steggerda. Yet, the most heartbreaking miss came at the 71-minute mark from senior Matt Paglia when he hit the post and the ball bounced and hit the crossbar. Over the remaining 40 minutes, both teams had several scoring chances, but neither could find the back of the net. "We did create a lot of scoring opportunities and everyone is pretty frustrated about not putting any of them away," said Bigart. "As frustrating as that was there were some good things during the game."

The Spartan backs played outstandingly, holding Brandeis to only three shots on goal, and Konrad Karasek posted his sixth shutout of the season. "Having a strong defense has been a foundation for this team," said Bigart. "Shutout performances are exactly what we need to build from as we advance through the upcoming UAA games."

The team has had the entire week to recover and prepare for what will be their biggest challenge to date: a match against ninth-ranked Emory University. The Spartans will need to find a way to break through the Eagles' defense as it ranks top three in goals-against average and shutout percentage. Defensively, the team will need to slow down the 13th-ranked scoring offense, as the Eagles have been scoring at a clip of 3.55 goals per game. This will definitely be a statement game for the team, as the winner will build huge momentum and grab an advantage in the UAA standings. The match takes place in Atlanta this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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  • Solid 28-7 win keeps Spartans undefeated
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