By Miguel Gonzalez
The Lions clutched out two second half wins at the Frostburg State University Tournament this past weekend, as they won 1-0 against Frostburg State University and 2-1 over Bridgewater College.
On Friday, Sept. 1, the Lions trekked south to Frostburg State University to compete in the FSU tournament. The team shutout the Bobcats, 1-0.
The first half remained scoreless as both teams couldn’t capitalize on opportunities. Sample shot on target in the 11th minute, but it was caught by Bobcats’ senior goalkeeper, Jackson Bicknell.
At the 58th minute, Kassak put the Lions ahead, 1-0, when he scored off a corner kick with an assist from senior midfielder Peter Dresch.
Less than 10 minutes later, freshman midfielder Kevin Esteves launched a shot that bounced off the post. The team was then given a corner kick.
Once again, Bicknell squashed a Lions scoring opportunity when he caught a header shot from freshman midfielder Ryan Vazquez. Despite the missed shots, the Lions withheld the Bobcats to only two shots and secured the 1-0 win. During the match, two freshman had standout performances.
“(Freshman goalkeeper) Michael Kayal had a great game and came up huge for us while (Junior goalkeeper) Dan Walsh,” Kassak said. “He made a good saves in the first half that really saved the defense. (Sophomore midfielder) Sam Monaco dominated the midfield and won every ball that came his way, which took pressure off our defense.”
The following day, Saturday, Sept. 2, the team won their second match against Bridgewater College, and the tournament with it.
The Lions were down 1-0 at halftime against the Eagles. The Lions offense immediately pressured the Eagles and landed five shots. 10 minutes later, junior midfielder Nick Sample scored off a cross from senior captain forward Michael Kassak.
“When we were down 1-0, we felt very confident about our ability to come back,” Kassak said. “We were dominating the run of play and we significantly outshot Bridgewater. When we put Bridgewater under pressure, they gave the ball away, which led to 2 of our goals on counter attacks.”
Kassak then intercepted a pass from the Eagles and gave freshman midfielder James Pike the chance to score the tiebreaker, which netted the Lions a 2-1 victory.
The Lions will play their season home opener against Stevens Institute of Technology on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Lions Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Last season, the Ducks posted a 11-5-2 record and defeated the Lions 3-1.
“We are looking forward to proving ourselves against a solid opponent,” Kassak said. “Stevens always has a good team and it’s going to be a great chance to show ourselves and others how good our team is going to be this year.”
On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Lions will travel south to Salem, Virginia, to compete in the All Sports Cafe Roanoke Invitational. The team will first play against Lynchburg College. Last season, the Hornets won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and reached to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Lions will then compete against Roanoke College on Sunday, Sept. 10. The men’s soccer team previously played Roanoke College on Sept. 6, 2015 and won 2-1.