Despite a rough start to the year, the Drexel University men’s soccer team still has a fighter’s chance in the conference. But it’s going to be a rough road ahead.
All season, the Dragons have sported a stout defense and little to no offensive firepower. Given their performances in the last week, they may be finally putting it together on the offensive end.
On Sept 26, the Dragons made the journey to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face-off against James Madison University in their second conference game of the season.
Once again, the offense didn’t look great in the game, taking only 5 shots, but the pivotal difference here was their ability to actual net one of their shots. Before this week, the Dragons had only scored in three of eight games.
Despite the fact that the offense wasn’t able to control the ball very well and thus putting extra pressure on the defense, and they held up. The Dukes actually managed to take 18 shots in the game, one of which came close to scoring, but was stopped before scoring by redshirt freshman Jacob Jordan.
James Madison was controlling the pace of the game throughout much of the early going, but the Dragons managed to find the pivotal breathing room in the 35th minute when a Dakota Peterson corner kick found Ilal Shvika in the box, who scored his first collegiate goal to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead in the contest.
The Dukes went full pressure offense in the second half, and it paid dividends in terms of chances-they took 12 shots in the half-but the Drexel defense stood tall and stopped any of those chances from really threatening the result of the game. Jacob Jordan was awarded Colonial Athletic Association rookie of the week for his shutout performances against Saint Joseph’s University and JMU.
When the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Dragons had captured a hard-fought win and were back in the thick of things in the conference at 1-1.
A few days later, they were handed a reality check.
Against the 23rd ranked team in the country and CAA leading Hofstra University, a poor second half spelled a bad loss for the young team.
Things actually looked good for the squad early, they were being heavily pressed by Hofstra’s offense, but hadn’t relented. They had managed to get a couple of shots on net of their own and it looked like they had a chance to bring down a very good Hofstra team.
The Dragons struck first, with an Erik Alexandersson goal off an assist from Shvika in the 33rd minute of the game. The goal swung momentum firmly in the Drexel direction and they continued to pressure the Hofstra defense for about ten minutes of play. However, in the 45th minute, Hostra managed to get on the board courtesy of Andreas Iosifides, and the proverbial floodgates opened.
The game went into half tied 1-1, but by the end of the second half, Hostra had five goals to just one for the Dragons.
The Pride came out in the second half and imposed their will all over the field. The second goal for Hofstra came courtesy of a bad pass by the Dragons that was intercepted and led to a breakaway goal. This settled Hofstra into their offense, and they were clinical the rest of the way, picking apart the defense and by the 76th minute, the Dragons were down four goals and the game was all but over.
While the score was bad and losing a CAA game by four goals is never good, there’s no need for undue pessimism. The Dragons are a young team still trying to put it all together and likely growing together as a team and Hofstra is a highly ranked experienced team that will likely win the conference.
Despite the outcome of the second game, the two games this week for the Dragons showed promise. Jacob Jordan looks great in net overall, and will likely be a strong keeper going forward. The offense managed to score in both games this week, which is something they had seemed unable to do all season and will be huge going forward.
The Dragons are home Oct 3 against College of Charleston at Vidas Field at 4 PM.