Men’s soccer ousts Swarthmore: Bullets improve to 7th in the region
By Stephanie Karalis, Staff Writer
The Gettysburg College men’s soccer team defeated Swarthmore College 2-0 Saturday.
As the rest of campus emptied for fall break and the rain poured down, the Bullets remained busy on Clark field. The two teams entered the game in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Centennial Conference (CC). Gettysburg’s victory kept them in fourth place but now only tied with Johns Hopkins.
The majority of the game, being a scoreless match, made it evident it was an evenly played game, but the 18-16 shot advantage helped the Bullets achieve the win. This victory marked the first time the Gettysburg men’s soccer team beat Swarthmore College in nine years. Since 2007, the Garnets have earned six victories and a pair of ties over the past eight meetings.
The game against Swarthmore was the Bullet’s fourth shutout of the season. First year Thomas Keane stopped three shots this game to make it his third clean sheet of the year. Swarthmore sophomore Michael Thut stopped nine Gettysburg shots for the Garnets.
For most of the opening half, the game was defensively controlled with both the Bullets and the Garnets only shooting once on each other in the first 29 minutes. For the rest of the game, however, both teams increased their intensity and the Bullets were able to outshoot the Garnets 7-4 in the last 16 minutes of the game.
“I think a weakness for us was the first moments of the game,” said senior captain Henry Smith. “We weren’t as energetic and threatening as Swarthmore. [The team] played [its] game, moved the ball well, and created scoring chances, which [it] eventually capitalized on, that’s always promising.”
The second half opened with tension as the Bullet’s almost broke the tie in the first six minutes. Smith kicked in a goal, but it was called offside.
The game remained scoreless until the 51st minute of play, when junior Patrick Santini finally broke through the Garnets’ net. First year Precious Ozoh delivered a pass from the midfield to the right side of the box to junior Patrick Santini. Santini dribbled the ball twice up on the right side of the box and striked the ball into the far post for the team’s first goal, Santini’s third of the season. This was Ozoh’s first collegiate assist.
This goal lit the fire beneath the Bullets’ cleats as senior Henry Smith followed with an insurance goal in the last few seconds of the game.
The Blue and Orange kept the intensity high for the remainder of the half and outshot Swarthmore 11-10, but Thut saved five shots the rest of the way before the Bullet’s Smith put in his goal. Smith headed the goal kick by Keane and sent it up the field. Smith was able to beat three defenders to the ball and then, at the top of the box, was able to get a shot off and score, finding the left side of the net. This goal put the game away and aided to Smith’s role of being the team-leading scorer, his fifth goal of the year.
“The team has taken many steps in the right direction,” said Smith. “It’s clear [the team has] become closer on the field, but also off the field”.
The cohesive unit that defines the Gettysburg team has helped them to have such a successful season, standing 3-2 in the conference and 6-3-1 overall.
“I hope by the end of the season we are able to play our best soccer, when it matters most,” said Smith. “If we do that, the team has the potential to do things it hasn’t been able to do in past years.”
The Bullets next face sixth-place Dickinson College on Clark Field, Saturday at 7 p.m.