Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, April 21, 2018

Men’s soccer breezes past Colgate to open Patriot League season

Iraola’s two goals lead the Eagles to a 3-0 victory at the beginning of conference play

Men’s soccer breezes past Colgate to open Patriot League season

AU senior goalkeeper Lucas Belanger looks to distribute the ball in a match against Gonzaga September 9. Belanger recorded his first career shutout in the Eagles' 3-0 victory over Colgate

While it was nearly two weeks since its previous victory, the AU men’s soccer team coupled efficient shooting with a strong defensive performance to pull out a win to open the Patriot League season on Saturday afternoon.

Following a 1-1 draw at Liberty University and a 3-0 loss at West Virginia University last week, the Eagles (4-2-3, 1-0 PL) came back with a 3-0 win against Colgate University (5-3-0, 0-1 PL) at Reeves Field. The goals came via a first half penalty kick from senior forward Joe Iraola, and second half efforts from Iraola and senior defender Jake Garcia.

The first half involved very few scoring opportunities, up until the 32nd minute when Iraola was tripped in the Colgate penalty box. Iraola followed up by converting the penalty himself, sending the ball down the middle while the Colgate goalkeeper dove incorrectly to his left. Colgate came close but failed to equalize throughout the rest of the first half after several blocked shots and one that was deflected over the crossbar from Colgate junior midfielder Chase Pagani.

The second half began as the first half ended, with a bombardment of scoring threats from Colgate attackers. However AU countered with another goal from Garcia who headed home an easy goal off a corner kick in the 60th minute.

“I told them the scoreline in some ways was flattering because they had a couple shots hit the post, and it could’ve been a one goal game, which most of our Patriot League games are,” head coach Todd West said after the game.

Iraola nabbed his other goal late in the second half when he received a long cross-field pass from senior midfielder Panos Nakhid and proceeded to maneuver around a Colgate defender and smash in a shot at the near post. They were Iraola’s third and fourth goals of the season respectively, giving him the team lead in scoring of the season.

“Whenever I step on the field I know I’m capable of scoring one or two or three goals, so when I have the chance I know I can put them away,” Iraola said.

West said afterward that the game was reflective of a defensive effort worthy of being proud of, and expressed confidence that it would set the team on the right path to start conference play.

“Getting that first win is huge, so that’s a big one for us, especially against a quality opponent like Colgate,” West said. “We kept thinking we were moving in the right direction and eventually we were going to get the shutout and with the defending it was eventually going to come together today.”

The shutout was the Eagles’ first of the season and the first for junior goalkeeper Lucas Belanger in his college career. AU will face Georgetown University and Boston University on the road next week before returning home to play Loyola University on Oct. 5.

gbichinho@theeagleonline.com


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