Devastating loss by JCU Men’s Soccer may lead to motivation for rest of the season


JCU Sports Information Department

Junior Patrick Koenig working to cross the ball to his teammates waiting in by the goal in the game vs. CMU.

Leah Harrigan, Staff Reporter

Don Shula Stadium, a field complex filled with years of both victory and defeat, was the setting for the John Carroll University Men’s Soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 10. Hopes were high for the Blue and Gold as their successful 2021 campaign was predicted to be the foundation of a competitive squad that has the capability of maximizing triumphant potential.

“The main difference this season is the new personnel we have. We have brought in a ton of quality players,” mentioned Izac Coleman ‘24, a Fall 2021 First-Team, All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection. 

However, the talented Blue Streak team fell 1-0 to a gritty Carnegie Mellon University roster that showed no signs of defeat even within the final moments of play. The acquired loss puts John Carroll at an overall record of 2-2.

At kickoff, it was clear that both teams were eager to generate crucial offensive chances. Nicholas Felician ‘23, a transfer student from Notre Dame College, has seamlessly integrated into the offensive makeup of John Carroll. Felician’s seemingly effortless control over the ball, along with pristine technical footwork, paved the way for early opportunities for the Blue and Gold. 

In the initial 45 minutes of play, John Carroll controlled most of the possession. Carnegie Mellon was able to introduce potentially dangerous counterattacks, but a strong defensive line from the Streaks threw a noticeable wrench in the Tartan’s plan. Steven Samuelson ‘25 and  Coleman, are two players among the defensive line that were responsible for prohibiting many offensive surges for Carnegie Mellon.

Trades of ball possession amounted to the primary sequence of play in the first half, with both squads entering the defensive territory of one another, a trademark indication of evenly matched lineups that were driven for victory.

As the clock hit 45 minutes, the officials blew the whistle and Carnegie Mellon and John Carroll headed to their respective halftime spaces, hoping for wise words from their coaching staff on how to gain the competitive advantage over their opposition.

“I think we need to focus more in the final third. We have the players to score three or four goals a game,” commented Coleman after reflecting on offensive chances.

Junior Izac Coleman dribbles up the sideline in the game v. CMU. (JCU Sports Information Department)

As each team emerged for the second allotment of play, it was clear that invested parents, students and other audience members were soon going to witness another half of ambitious and aggressive soccer. 

As music penetrated the stadium speakers and the turf lights flicked on, it was obvious that both teams held the intrinsic motivation to provide every ounce of effort until the final whistle blew.

Several John Carroll players recorded shots on goal. Jack Foht ‘25 and Nicolas Graeca ‘25 are two individuals that found themselves with space to generate an offensive push. Neither were able to find the back of the net, but it was evident that their positioning on the field was dangerous for the CMU defensive line. 

In a fashion similar to the first half, both teams found themselves with valid opportunities to tally a goal. But, in a devastating set-piece scenario with just eight seconds remaining, the Tartans redirected a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead. 

In a matchup where John Carroll spent more time on offense in the final third, it was utterly agonizing for the Streaks to be on the losing end as the clock hit 90 minutes. In fact, it was even more excruciating to recognize the efforts of all players, the undeniable spirit and authentic love of the game and how that still wasn’t enough to elicit victory.

But, what this truly means is that the Blue and Gold are due for success. Their commitment to excellence will certainly pay off, it’s just a matter of time.

The Blue Streaks will travel to Case Western Reserve University on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m. The beauty of athletics is engraved in the fact that there will be another opportunity for John Carroll to take the field again with a new mindset and motivation to win. As stated in the compelling slogan attached to John Carroll University, “Onward On”. The sun will set and we will rise again.