IWU men’s soccer drop three straight in CCIW

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Brian Morefield

 

After a successful start to the conference season with a 1-0 overtime victory against Augustana University, the Illinois Wesleyan University Titan men have experienced some major problems putting the ball into the back of the net, dropping three straight games— all of which they were shutout in.

Following a disappointing match against Carthage College, the Titans hosted the 18th ranked Vikings of North Park University this past Wednesday. The Titans dominated the entire first half, with some solid scoring chances from first-year J.J. Slomba and junior Eric Gilbert, none of which found the back of the net.

The Titans did not maintain that same level of intensity in the second half as North Park netted a few goals to give them a 3-0 victory and another win to help them sit atop the CCIW. Spirits remained high, though, as they knew they had another game against a valiant opponent— the Thunder of Wheaton College, who came to town this past Saturday night.

“Being a Saturday night game and Homecoming, we knew we would have a large crowd, which was going to give us some extra motivation. We looked forward to feeding off of this energy,” said senior captain John Pisani.

The Titans did just that to start off the first half, peppering in shots, but again failing to capitalize on any scoring chances. Then, with about 25 minutes to play in the first half, Adam Blackman of Wheaton took on a Titan defender, cruising past him and sending in a cross to an unmarked Stephen Gholz, who easily headed the ball into the back of the net.

The half ended 1-0 in favor of Wheaton. Early into the second half, Marshall Hollingsworth of Wheaton scored on a brilliant ball from his teammate Elliot Borges, giving Wheaton a 2-0 lead and an even bigger hole for the Titans to dig themselves out of.

The Titans continued to fight until the end, but an incredible shot by the opposing team from 30 yards out sealed the deal for the Thunder. This loss leaves the Titan men sitting towards the bottom of the CCIW rankings, but they still have a chance to pick themselves up and make it into the conference tournament. They have to win the final three games of the season to accomplish this feat.

“The fact of the matter is that we need to score. If we don’t put the ball into the back of the net, we’re never going to win a game. It’s that simple,” said senior captain Colin Rathe.

“If we snap out of this funk and find a way to get this done, I am confident the rest of the season will play out the way we want it to,” he later added.

The Titans have not lost hope and they look to keep their chances alive with a win over Milikin University and Elmhurst College this upcoming week.