Drexel Athletics named two soccer players as CLEAR Players of the Week for their performance the weekend of Sept. 21. Sophomore midfielder Michele Pataia won the honors for the men’s team, and sophomore defender Melissa Chapman received the honors for the women’s team.
Pataia won the award for his effort in a 4-1 win over 11th-ranked Old Dominion University Sept 22. Pataia scored two goals in the game, the first multi-goal game of his collegiate career. His goals came at pivotal times in the game. His first goal started the Dragons’ scoring at 7:13, and his second came at 47:42 to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. The first goal was scored off a rebound on a corner kick, while the second one was scored on a breakaway, beating the defender and smoking a ball past the goalkeeper. Even with his two goals, Pataia praised his teammates and scheme, which were both crucial to his success.
“I think we just did a good job as a front three to unbalance their back four with a lot of movements and especially with forward runs,” Pataia said. “They weren’t looking for me specifically, but in the formation we played, [Nathan] Page and I have the role of unbalancing their defense with our runs, and we were able to find the space through them, which led to one of my goals.”
Pataia said he was honored to be chosen as an athlete of the week and noted that the confidence boost will definitely keep his game at a high level.
In addition to being a CLEAR Player of the Week, Chapman also received co-Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honors for her effort in the Dragons’ 1-1 tie against George Mason University. Chapman headed the game-tying goal in the 74th minute off a corner kick. She also scored the game-winning goal against conference rival Towson University. Chapman has been a rock defensively as well, with Drexel only allowing one goal in the last 200 minutes of play. Chapman credits her teammates for her success in the game against George Mason.
“The week before, Eve Badana and I worked on crosses and on finishing. I ran forward and tried to beat the defender to the ball, so I guess I owe a little of the credit to her,” Chapman said.
She also mentioned that she thinks that the women’s soccer team can be a serious contender.
“It feels good to be recognized as a defender and to put Drexel women’s soccer on the map in the CAA and that we are for real, we’re competitive this year, and we feel we are a playoff contender,” Chapman said. “It gives our team credit for the way we have started the season.”
Both players will be back in action Sept. 28 when the men face The College of William & Mary for a conference match while the women will face the University of North Carolina, Wilmington at home.