October 10, 2014

Midweek Wrap - Week 6

By Ryan Harmanis

The Midweek Wrap highlights weekday matches before they are forgotten in the weekend whirlwind. Compelling match-ups and intriguing results from across the country will be covered. You can expect both brief recaps of the games themselves and to have performances and outcomes placed into context.

Monday, October 6

Haverford 7, Rutgers-Camden 3

Monday’s key match produced 10 goals as Haverford (8-3-0) rang up Rutgers-Camden (7-6-0) for seven behind Brady Seitz’s hat trick. Camden actually took the lead twice in the first half, but Haverford stormed back to take a 3-2 lead at the half. A fourth Haverford tally and a Camden red card after the break, and the only remaining question was how many goals the Fords would score. Haverford followed up with a 1-0 win over Rowan on Wednesday, and boasts a four game winning streak heading into a season-defining road trip that includes No. 4 Franklin and Marshall, No. 20 Muhlenberg, and Dickinson. As for Camden, we might be looking at a 2014 NCAA tournament without the 2013 finalist.

Tuesday, October 7

No. 4 Brandeis 1, MIT 0

Just how good is No. 4 Brandeis (11-0-0)? Following Tuesday’s 1-0 win over MIT (4-3-4), the Judges have only surrendered two goals in 11 games. They’ve also remained perfect against a schedule where opponents’ winning percentage is .606, which is more impressive considering Brandeis hasn’t even played the other top teams in the UAA. On the other hand, the Judges only have seven goals in their last five games. Winning 1-0 is a skill few teams can master, but one problem with low-scoring games is that it increases the odds a weaker team can pull off an upset. If Brandeis wants to go beyond its Sweet Sixteen efforts of the past two seasons, it will take improvement on the offensive end.

Trinity (Conn.) 4, No. 14 Wheaton (Mass.) 3
Kalamazoo 2, No. 19 Hope 1
Keene State 1, No. 23 Gordon 0

Last week’s Midweek Wrap included only one upset of a ranked team, but with no mid-week game for Ohio Wesleyan this week other teams stepped up (or failed to do so) on Tuesday.

First, No. 14 Wheaton (Mass.) (10-2-1) fell to Trinity (Conn.) (5-3-1), with Cody Savonen’s brace including the game-winning goal for the Bantams. Both of Wheaton’s losses are out of conference, but the Lyons will be disappointed with missing shots at UAA and NESCAC opponents.

No. 19 Hope (10-3-0) dropped two games behind No. 15 Calvin in the MIAA after dropping a 2-1 decision to Kalamazoo (6-4-2). While the MIAA always takes a toll—no team has made it through without a conference loss in years—the Flying Dutchmen no longer control their own destiny in the regular season race.

Finally, No. 23 Gordon (10-2-0) will continue to yo-yo in and out of the D3soccer.com Top 25 following a disappointing outing against Keene State (6-5-0). While the Fighting Scots remain atop the Commonwealth Coast Conference, they were outplayed on Tuesday and will need to improve with second-place Nichols visiting Saturday.

Wednesday, October 8

No. 1 Messiah 3, Lycoming 0

Top-ranked Messiah (12-0-0) avenged its penalty shootout loss in the 2013 Commonwealth Conference tournament by easing past No. 25 Lycoming (9-1-3) on Wednesday. The Warriors were the last team to shut out the high-flying Falcons, but Messiah standout Jeremy Payne scored twice in the first half to put the result beyond doubt. With Messiah’s depth and experience compared to the rest of the Commonwealth, Falcons fans could be forgiven for wanting to fast forward several weeks to tournament time. For now, they’ll have to suffice with Messiah’s intricate play, outstanding individual talent, and rock-solid defense (nine shutouts, only four goals against).

No. 4 Franklin and Marshall 1, DeSales 0

No. 4 Franklin and Marshall (11-0-1) held DeSales (4-7-1) to just two shots on goal to remain unbeaten. The Diplomats left it late, with Christ Scott grabbing the deciding goal in the 84th minute. F&M has scoring issues on par with Brandeis, relying heavily on stingy defense to sufficiently cover until goals come. It’s been effective for both teams, but at some point an opponent will make the Diplomats pay for it. On the other hand, if the scoring improves F&M’s defense has it positioned for another deep NCAA run.

UW-Whitewater 1, No. 17 North Park 0

Another member of the Top 25 fell on Wednesday as UW-Whitewter (7-3-2) blanked No. 17 North Park (9-2-0). Jordan Wilkins headed in John Gottwald’s corner in the 55th minute for the game’s only goal, while the Warhawks’ defense limited North Park to just three shots on target. It looks like the turning point for Whitewater’s season came in a 4-3 loss to Carthage. The Warhawks were down 4-0 with 25 minutes remaining, but nearly came all the way back to tie the game. Since then, Whitewater has picked up quality wins over Augustana, North Central (Ill.), and now North Park. This momentum could be vital heading into WIAC play, where the conference title and a Pool B NCAA bid should be decided in games with UW-Superior and UW-Oshkosh.

John Carroll 5, Otterbein 4

After surviving a shootout with Otterbein (7-5-0) Wednesday, it seems John Carroll has stepped up to fill the void left by Ohio Northern at the top of the OAC. The Blue Streaks—who beat ONU last weekend after losing seven straight to the Polar Bears—avoided a letdown and took a 3-0 lead just after halftime courtesy of leading scorer Brian Potocnik (8g, 8a). Down to ten men, Otterbein was staring at a 4-1 deficit with ten minutes to go. Nevertheless, the Cardinals flew back into the game. Luis Rivas scored two goals in 40 seconds, and Ross Pfeil completed a dramatic comeback by leveling with just 19 seconds remaining. Poised at 4-4, John Carroll kept its nerve and Karol Boryka won it in the 102nd minute to cap Wednesday’s most dramatic game.

Wartburg 3, St. Olaf 1

The Wartburg Knights (9-2-2) continued an impressive unbeaten stretch by topping MIAC leader St. Olaf (7-3-1) behind goals from Kyle Sprain, Zach Smith, and Kevin Krueger. The Knights have done well since falling to Carthage 3-0, and the win kept them tied with No. 6 Loras at the top of the IIAC. While the rest of us can look forward to an October 25th showdown with the Duhawks, Wartburg must concentrate on three tricky games in the interim to set up a rousing end to the regular season.