Heartbreaking loss at home leads to revenge tour for JCU Men’s Soccer


JCU Sports Information Department

The Men’s Soccer team huddles up prior to their game against Calvin University on Saturday.

Leah Harrigan, Staff Reporter

The John Carroll University Men’s soccer team, yet again, welcomed a talented opponent to Don Shula Stadium in University Heights, OH. 

Throughout their 2022 campaign, The Blue Streaks have opted to schedule non-conference games against accomplished universities in hopes of gaining experience to fine-tune their already impressive skill set.

But, on Saturday, Sept. 25, John Carroll not only invited a polished squad, they elected to face-off against the #10 ranked team among National Collegiate Athletic Association squads in the Division III sector: Calvin University.

“Playing a hard schedule is something that our program prides itself on,” mentioned Izac Coleman ‘24. “It gives us a chance to grow and compete before conference play which helps us massively.”

As always, the Streaks took the field with a sense of urgency, excitement and passion. The stakes were relatively high as the Blue and Gold were playing for an extensive crowd of alumni and parents since the game took place during John Carroll’s annual Homecoming Weekend of festivities.

John Carroll was forced to maintain a strong defensive presence as Calvin had the majority of the possession throughout the opening minutes of play. 

Brenden Moher ‘26 was fearless in net for the Blue and Gold, tallying five pivotal saves throughout the match, keeping a potential victory within reach.

Brenden Moher in goal for the Blue Streaks on Saturday evening against Calvin. (JCU Sports Information Department)

But, as the scouting report suggested, Oliver Akintade of Calvin would be a certain threat to the John Carroll back line of defenders. Akintade navigated his way into the depths of the Blue Streak final third and placed a shot in the back of the net five minutes into the first half.

As always, however, John Carroll had the mental capacity to rise above the adversity of an early goal-against and used their relentless drive to keep themselves afloat.

As the final minutes of the first-half ticked away, the score stood at 1-0, the Knights with a competitive edge over the Streaks. 

With a comeback-driven momentum, the Blue and Gold headed to the locker room at the half to discuss a goal-oriented strategy. 

In the first 45 minutes of play, Patrick Koenig ‘24 was the sole player to tally shots on net for John Carroll. 

It is assumed that the halftime discussion involved conversation about the necessary nature of generating offensive opportunities. After all, the result of a game comes down to goal differential.

To no one’s surprise, the Blue and Gold took the assumed advice and made strides that were closer to the Calvin defensive zone. 

At the 68-minute mark, Ben Brucken ‘24 and Logan Penton ‘25 established a vital connection. Brucken sent a pass toward the middle portion of the field and Penton maintained aggressive control of the ball. 

Soon after, Penton found himself the opportunity to place a shot on net. In a swift transition of momentum, the Streaks were now even with the Knights, each team with one goal on the board.

Logan Penton, the lone goal scorer for the Blue and Gold this weekend against Calvin. (JCU Sports Information Department)

With 20 minutes remaining, Penton’s goal set the scene for a vivacious allotment of play. 

Moher remained stoic in net while John Carroll’s defense worked to prevent any opportunities for shots in the realm of their 18-yard box. On offense, the Streaks attempted to plug away at a nearly indestructible Calvin defense. 

However, the efforts and undeniable hustle somehow deteriorated within the last five minutes of the second half. In the most devastating fashion, the Knights capitalized on a deep throw-in, resulting in a combination of headers culminating in the back of John Carroll’s goal. 

As the seconds waned, the score was solidified at 2-1, the Calvin University Knights emerging victorious. The loss puts the Blue Streak’s record at 4-3-1 on the season.

In hindsight, a quick memory is necessary for the level of skill required to compete in the matches that John Carroll has thus far. There is a clear method to their strategic scheduling of games, especially their desire to face-off against some of the most pristine teams in the nation. The trials and tribulations, in a sense, are part of the process for John Carroll men’s soccer.

“Our main goal is to win the OAC and make it back to the national tournament,” commented Coleman. “We have our eyes set on a National Championship.”

As the season progresses and Ohio Athletic conference rankings begin to solidify, there is no doubt that we will see the Blue Streaks earn the success they deserve.

The Blue and Gold’s revenge tour begins on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Penn State Behrend.