Despite an initial lead, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s men’s soccer team lost its first home game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 1, 3-2 against Thiel College.
The Barons started the game strong, scoring a goal six minutes into the first half. Sophomore midfielder John Paul Bobak played a precise pass across the front of the net to sophomore midfielder Gustavo Gutierrez, who finished a shot into the left side of the goal.
Thiel pushed back and continued to volley shots at the Barons’ goal keeper, sophomore Brian Gaughan. In spite of the best efforts of Thiel’s players, Gaughan successfully defended his goal and completed four saves during his time in the net.
The ball travelled between the two teams for the majority of the first half, but in the last three minutes, junior defender Kevin Herrmann took a shot on goal. Though Thiel’s goalkeeper deflected the shot, sophomore midfielder Sebastian Koehler capitalized on the keeper’s deflection and slipped the ball into the left corner of the net, giving Franciscan a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Taking to the field again after halftime, Thiel took the first shot on goal of the second half, which was blocked by sophomore goal keeper Claudio Ferrari. The Barons fired back with three shots of their own, narrowly missing the goal each time. Both teams continued to battle against each other in an evenly matched game.
Thiel scored its first goal of the game with 26 minutes left on the clock, thus beginning its comeback. Franciscan battled furiously to maintain its lead, but another Thiel goal was scored, leaving the game tied 2-2 with 22 minutes to go.
The two teams wrestled for the lead for the next 12 minutes, but then Thiel shot a hard-driven ball right under the crossbar of the Barons’ goal, nearly grazing Ferrari’s fingertips and securing victory for Thiel. The Barons continued to fight through to the end of the game, taking two more shots on Thiel’s goal in the last few minutes, but Thiel ultimately took home the win.
Head Coach Christian Bobak came out of the game disappointed but hopeful. “We had 29 shots, they had 13,” he said. “More of ours should have gone in. But it’s the beginning of the season and we learn more from a loss than win. We just got to keep pushing forward.”
The Barons take on Alfred State on the road next Saturday and then Muskingum University on Sunday.
The next home game for the men’s soccer team is on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. against Geneva College.