Men’s soccer starts the season with a win against Old Dominion

Two rookie Eagles score their first career goals in a physical match

Men’s soccer starts the season with a win against Old Dominion
Dilane Zouantcha battling against an Old Dominion University defender

The Eagles started their season off with a win in front of over 1,100 fans with a 2-1 victory over the Old Dominion University Monarchs. Tension filled the physical match from start to finish as two freshman Eagles scored in their first time on the pitch in the red, white and blue.

“It was a tough game,” head coach Zach Samol said. “ODU was trying to do what they do, we were trying to do what we wanted to do ... but also credit to the guys for figuring out a way to win.”

The first goal for the Eagles came early from freshman Zemi Rodriguez off an assist from senior David Coly in the 16th minute of the match. After a bad pass by Old Dominion at center field, Coly took the ball straight to the goal before passing to Rodriguez who battled around the goalie to deftly score the first goal of his career.

The Monarchs equalized the score early in the second half with a goal in the 52nd minute. The Eagles would retake the lead for a final time in the 72nd minute with a statement goal from freshman Dilane Zouantcha, once again assisted by Coly.

Zouantcha’s goal is a special one, especially to his brother, 5th year senior and team captain Jerry Zouantcha.

“He’s one-upped me,” Jerry Zouantcha said. “It took me a lot of games to score my freshman [year], and he came on, first game and just banged one in, made it look easy. So it’s motivation, but I am also super proud of him.” 

While the Eagles won, the match was a physical, often chippy battle from the very beginning with players on both teams getting into shoving matches that the referees had to stop the play to break up. Four yellow cards were issued, a total of 24 fouls were committed in the match and the Eagles had to remain calm in the face of such a tough match.

“You gotta rely on your teammates,” Jerry Zouantcha said. “I’m an emotional person myself, but when you rely on your teammates it’s easier, they are there to keep you grounded, listen to the coaches and consistently remind yourself about who we are as a team.”

The Eagles look to extend their win streak to two this Friday at home against Santa Clara at 4 p.m. ET. 

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