Soccer Six crown on the line in annual UCity Derby | The Triangle
Men's Soccer

Soccer Six crown on the line in annual UCity Derby

Soccer Six crown on the line in annual UCity Derby

Drexel sophomore Stephen Kopsachilis (above) has been an essential piece of what head coach Doug Hess is building at University City, starting in net in the past three contests. (Photograph courtesy of Drexel Athletics)

The Philadelphia Soccer Six, composed of six Division I men’s soccer teams based around the City of Brotherly Love, boast a historic, often un- heralded rivalry. The member schools — Villanova University, La Salle University, Drexel University, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania annually vie for the Soccer Six Championship, determined by the team’s head-to-head records in the regular season.

Drexel had its first opportunity to make headway in the Soccer Six title race when they drove over to battle on Hawk Hill against St. Joseph’s. The Dragons saw a pair of goals from sophomore midfielders Joey Martini and Harrison Coron, respectively. The goals were collegiate firsts from the two sophomores, who were assisted by senior midfielder Francisco Rodrigues da Palma and junior defender Anthony Amore on both occasions. The Dragons gained a foothold on the Soccer Six title in the 3-0 shutout, the final goal of which came from junior forward Laolu Daranijo.

The team effort put forward at St. Joseph’s couldn’t be replicated by Drexel against their CAA rival, the College of Charleston. For the first time this season, Drexel couldn’t find the back of the net in a losing effort to the Cougars. Charleston surprised the Dragons early on, tallying two goals in the first half and shutting down Drexel’s offense throughout the remainder of the contest. The defeat closes out Drexel’s CAA contests at the Vidas Field, leaving the Dragons without the home advantage in their final league matchups against the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the University of Delaware.

Drexel’s collapse was orchestrated by College of Charleston redshirt senior Tucker Heffron, who scored twice to seriously jeopardize any hopes the Dragons have at making the CAA postseason tournament. Heffron’s first winning effort resulted from a far post header, set up by a cross into the goalkeeper’s box from freshman midfielder Connor Walmsley.

Twenty minutes later, Heffron beat the keeper again with a header, with the ball being served by redshirt junior defender Cole Gulledge. Though Coron and sophomore forward Chris Donovan tried their best to get Drexel going, the Dragons walked off the pitch with a 2-0 loss in spite of registering 19 shots.

The second and final Soccer Six matchup of Drexel’s season pitted the Dragons against the University of Pennsylvania Oct. 22. A stormy night at the Vidas Field made for the perfect setting for the University City match, which was decided in overtime, as it often is.

The slippery conditions made it difficult for either team to put their stamp on the game, which was characterized by harsh plays on both ends. Drexel could only get five shots off, with only one being on frame. Penn had 12 shots, five of which were on target. Though Drexel earned nine corners to Penn’s six, none of those opportunities amounted to anything for the Dragons. Sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Kopsachilis managed four saves.

Penn broke through in the 96th minute, winning the Soccer Six championship, sharing the title with Villanova.

If Drexel forced a draw, they would have been joint Soccer Six champions alongside the Wildcats. The Dragons will have a chance to determine their fate in another competition, the CAA finals, as they head to Wilmington, North Carolina, to go up against UNCW, who lead the CAA with 16 points.