(Notre Dame, IN) The Men's Soccer team took on Andrews University tonight, and improved their record to 2-2 with their second straight shutout.
A 5 goal outburst in the second half proved to be too much for the visiting Andrews University Cardinals. The game was 1-0 at half, but the Saints came out in the second half and really pushed the tempo scoring 3 goals in a 15 minute span pushing the lead to 4-0 and upending the visiting Cardinal.
The scoring started in the 34th minute when Sophomore Garbhan Grant (Letterkenng, Ireland) made some nifty moves outside the box, and placed a well chipped ball into the upper corner over the head of Cardinal's Goalkeeper Fernando Chavez. It was the second straight game Grant would find the net, and his third of the season.
"I thought that first goal was really important. We were playing some quality soccer, and generating good chances. I didn't want to go into halftime tied 0-0, and give them some confidence. In games where you have most of the run of play it is important that you get that first goal, because the longer it goes 0-0 the more dangerous the other team gets. Garbhan used some great skill around the box, and it was a really nice finish," said Head Coach Rhett Zych.
The Saints would come out a little flat to start the second half, but once they got settled in the scoring seemed to come quite easy. Junior Luis Delgado, (Lexington, Kentucky) scored two goals in the 59th and 68th minute. That makes 3 total goals on the season for Delgado, and the transfer student from Ancilla College has now scored in two straight games.
The first goal was a great show of a team soccer as the team moved the ball up the field with 6 straight passes. The play was finished off when Sophomore forward Farkhod Kurbonov (Dushanbe, Tajikistan) played a great ball through to Delgado, and he struck a nicely placed ball past the diving goalkeeper from Andrews Fernando Chavez. This is Kurbonov's second straight game with an assist.
If the second goal was nice the third goal was even nicer. Senior Brooks McDonald (Spring Lake, MI) played well driven ball about 50 yards to the streaking Delgado. Delgado took the touch out the air past Chavez, and passed the ball into the back of the net.
"Luis is such a talented player. He is one of those players that has a great feel for the game, and he sees the game in ways a coach cannot really teach a player. He truly is a talent, and I think he is now getting a good feel with the rest of the guys finding his niche on the team," said Coach Zych.
"I have been really pleased with the play of both Brooks and Farkhod as of late. Farkhod ended the spring very well, and he is showing that on the field in the fall. He really has come into his own since I arrived as Head Coach in February. Brooks is just a gamer. He is a player every coach wants to have on his team. Don't get me wrong he can drive me nuts at times. (coach laughing) But I know I can count him in every game to give me his best, and his best is darn good," said Coach Zych
The scoring would not stop there as the Saints smelled the proverbial blood in the water, and went on the attack for more goals. Sophomore Patrick Owona (Yaounde, Cameroon) got his first goal of the season and first goal as a Holy Cross Saint in the 74th minute. He got his head on the end of a service into the box and buried it into the far corner. This capped off a three goal spurt in fifteen minutes for the Saints.
Senior Robert Campos (La Ceiba, Honduras) got on the board in the 81st minute off a nifty bit of skill before slotting a shot in the lower far corner of the net past the diving Chavez. Grant would finish of the scoring in the 87th minute off of a free kick. He played a dangerous ball in the box that was challenged by a couple of Saints trying to get their heads on the end of it. It cause confusion for the Cardinal's defense, and the goalkeeper. The ball was never touched and it went over the head of Chavez into the back of the net. That would be the end of the scoring for the night as Grant capped it off for the 6th goal of the night for the Saints. This is also Grant's fourth goal of the season and he currently leads them in goals scored on the season.
"I really thought that this was total team effort. We have been working with Patrick on his individual skill for much the season. He has responded quite well, and worked very hard at it. He is a great athlete so it was nice to see him get his head on the end of one tonight. He worked very hard tonight, and truly earned and deserved a goal in my opinion. I am very happy for him," said Coach Zych
"Robert has truly been a great asset for us. He not only scored a goal for us, but he also got the win playing goalie for us. We had to sit out our normal starter Damian, because he has been hampered by a thumb injury so it is nice to have a Robert go in there, play well for us in the net. The reason we took him out of the net is that his mother was in the crowd, and seeing him play for the first time ever traveling all the way from California to see him play. I am so happy for him. He has had such a great attitude all season, and the fact he was able to get a goal for his mother is truly a blessing for him and his family," said Coach Zych
The Saints have scored 8 goals in two games now, and recorded two straight shutouts. They are now .500 on the season improving record to 2-2 on the season after starting the season 0-2.
"We talked about consistency all week with our guys after we beat Concorida on Wednesday. I challenged them to keep improving and getting even more focussed for this game against Andrews. They responded very well. This was a total team effort. I am very proud of the boys. We have a lot to work on and improve on for our next game against Huntington, but I am happy with the momentum and direction our team has going into that game now. We went from losing two games and giving up 8 goals in two games to winning two straight games giving up no goals and scoring 8 goals. I really like the effort and the focus of our team right now," said Coach Zych
"I also want to thank the women's program, and especially Cindy Lemp the mother Senior Goalkeeper on the women's team Ashleigh Lemp for organizing the pre-game tailgate for the double header today. We had a great atomsphere today with the crowd, and it was nice to see all the fans, parents, and students really support both of our teams. We are truly starting to grow as a program on both the men's and women's side, and the turnout today was nice to see. It was a great day for Holy Cross Soccer as the women were able to beat Andrews in the game before as well," said Coach Zych
It was the Saints second straight shut-out. Robert Campos and Brooks McDonald combined for the shutout. Campos recorded 5 saves and McDonald recorded 2 saves doing a very a nice job of preserving the shutout.
The Saints have 9 days until they travel to Huntington University on September 20th. That will be their last game until they get into the conference schedule where they play their first game against Trinity International at home in another double header with the women's team on September 24th against Trinity International. Those games are being played at 1:00 p.m for the women and 3:00 p.m. for the men at the Indiana Invaders Complex.