Courtesy of AUEAGLES.COM
The AU men’s soccer team suffered its first loss in Patriot League play Oct. 22, as the Navy Midshipmen struck early and protected the lead late for a 2-1 victory over in Annapolis, Md.
Navy (5-7-3, 2-2-1 PL) scored both goals in the first ten minutes of the game, while AU (6-9-1, 4-1 PL) was unable to find the net until the second half rolled around, despite outshooting the Midshipmen 14-11 on the night.
Navy came ready to play at the first whistle, as the Midshipmen pushed across the first goal just four minutes into the game. Guy Skord’s attempt rocketed past AU goalkeeper Billy Knutsen and off the left post, but Joseph Greenspan was there to capitalize on the rebound and chip the ball into a wide-open net for the 1-0 Navy lead.
Five minutes later, Navy had a little luck thrown its way. David Jackson sent a simple shot towards Knutsen, who mishandled it and let it slide through his legs for the game’s second goal. The mishap gave Jackson his team-high fifth goal of the season and Navy a 2-0 advantage.
AU knew there was still plenty of time, so it began to pressure the Navy back line and outshot the Midshipmen 10-5 in the first half. But the Eagles couldn’t capitalize on their shot attempts and headed into halftime trailing 2-0.
It was not until the 56th minute when AU’s hard work would pay off, as Tyler Collins came up with a crucial goal to cut the score in half.
But just when things were looking up for the Eagles, Alex Tilatti was red-carded in the 70th minute for obstructing Navy’s Alex Wilson, who was on a breakaway deep in AU territory.
As a result, AU had to play one man short for the remainder of the game, and the Eagles couldn’t find any opportunities down the stretch to push across the equalizer.
The Eagles outplayed the Midshipmen for 80 minutes, but the 10-minute stretch to open the game proved too much to overcome for AU.
Aaron Dupere made three saves for the Midshipmen in the first half, while Max Renaldo played the entire second half in goal for Navy and picked up two saves. Aside from the two goals to start the game, Knutsen was not tested at all on the night and didn’t register one save.
Despite the loss, the Eagles still lead the Patriot League with 12 points, while Lehigh University and Colgate University are tied for second with 10 points apiece.
AU will finish off its non-conference schedule at the University of Virginia Oct. 25, before hosting Lehigh Oct. 29 in an important conference matchup.