Well, that wasn’t good.
The Drexel University men’s soccer team started their Colonial Athletic Conference play and it couldn’t have gone much worse for them.
Coming off two big wins and seemingly riding high going into conference play, the team felt ready to fight their way through the conference games, looking to keep the ball rolling en route to their third consecutive CAA Championship.
That was apparently not in the cards.
The Dragons faced off against a mediocre The College of William & Mary team Oct. 4, and quickly had their momentum crushed.
Within 15 minutes of kickoff, William & Mary was already on the board, courtesy of a Michael Teiman goal off of a corner kick.
In terms of troublesome results, corner kick goals are less of a worry than most. Head coach Doug Hess highlighted this when he reflected on the result of the game.
“I’m not very worried about our defense; we gave up a goal on a corner kick, which is always tough but not a definite sign of bad defense.”
What happened for the rest of the game, however, could be a sign of bad things for the team.
Things only got worse for the Dragons from there on defensively, as a defensive lapse near the end of the first half allowed William & Mary to get on the board once again, extending their lead to two as the game went into halftime.
Coach Hess, however, remained optimistic in the locker room, fully confident his team could pull back into it.
“I felt very confident at halftime that we could fight our way back into the game. I don’t think we were actually broken down very much against William & Mary and our defensive miscues were fully preventable.”
The Dragons increased their fight in the second half, but they weren’t able to fight back into it. Though they pressured more and had more chances, William & Mary once again scored on a defensive miscue for the Dragons and extended the lead to a virtually insurmountable 3-0.
The Dragons would score near the end of the game on a Jameson Detweiler header, but it was too little too late for the team, as they fell in the game, 3-1.
After the game, senior midfielder John Grosh commented on the state of the locker room as a whole and the team’s plans for improvement.
“We’re doing alright. We’re disappointed to lose but looking forward to the next game, which will be a good opportunity to get back on track. We’ve been working harder in practice on making that final pass and finishing for goals and hope to show off our improvement against Northeastern [University].”
Coach Hess also summarized his feelings heading into the Northeastern game, emphasizing the importance of bouncing back.
“Soccer comes down to a few moments; it’s a funny game. We didn’t get those moments against William & Mary. When you drop points, the biggest thing is to just have a response in the next game. You don’t want to tie bad results together and you want to try to flip your luck right away and get back on track. We feel fine, we have to have a short term memory and try to learn lessons in the losses and there’s always a game on the horizon.”
While the Dragons would turn things around defensively, they would once again be disappointed in their next game.
The Dragons did an excellent job against Northeastern on the defensive end. They gave up a lot of shots, but low-percentage shots, as they only required three saves in the entire game on 16 total shots.
On the other hand, the offensive end of the field was a mess.
In the entire game, the Dragons only took six shots and four corner kicks. At no point in the game did they really look dangerous, and in overtime they took zero shots.
In the first half, the Dragons evenly played the Huskies, as the teams exchanged chances back and forth, though neither team looked particularly dangerous.
The same trend followed for the second half, but Northeastern seemed to be gaining momentum as the half went on. Northeastern dominated possession and took twice as many shots as the Dragons, though they were unable to score by the end of regulation.
The Northeastern momentum continued in the overtime period and culminated with a 97th-minute goal.
Northeastern’s Harry Swartz passed the ball to Ackim Mpofu in the box, where he drilled the ball into the lower left corner, giving his team the victory.
With that close loss the Dragons ended a tough week on the road with two straight losses in conference play, but it isn’t all bad for the Dragons.
It actually does seem like the defensive downfall in the William & Mary game was an anomaly. The Dragons once again played a great game on the defensive end against Northeastern and appear to have their defense in order for the remainder of conference play.
Hopefully the team will be able to ride their defense for long enough to get their offense consistently in order before the CAA tournament in early November.
They’ll look to get things back together at home Oct. 11 against the College of Charleston.