The Franciscan University of Steubenville Barons soccer team underwent a heated game before falling 2-1 against the Westminster College Titans on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The two teams squared up on Franciscan University’s Memorial Field during a chilly afternoon for the last home game of the Barons’ regular season.
Both men’s teams brought an even greater ferocity to the field than their schools’ respective women’s soccer teams who had played and tied immediately beforehand. Free kicks resulting from player penalties abounded throughout the entire men’s game.
The first half was fast-paced and seemingly flew by. Neither side claimed an advantage until the last six minutes when Westminster scored the first goal of the game off of a corner kick.
The second half passed just as quickly as the first. The game’s tension skyrocketed when senior midfielder Sebastian Koehler was body-slammed from behind by a Westminster player with 11 minutes left.
Koehler lay flat on the ground for a time before being walked off the field by medical attendants. Spectating Franciscan students roared in outrage over the foul and in support of Koehler.
After his foul against Koehler, the Westminster player was given a red card and ejected from the game. As per the rules of soccer, Westminster was forced to play with one less man on the field for the rest of the game, making the player count 10 to 11.
Westminster scored another goal after a breakaway with nine minutes left in spite of their player disadvantage. The goal resulted from the Barons being temporarily distracted, calling at the referees whom they said failed to call an obvious handball.
With four minutes left, senior midfielder Joseph Fioramonti slid into the goal box and scored for the Barons, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of Westminster.
A dispute over the clock failing to be stopped led to both spectators and players heckling the referees. Some spectators also entered into verbal altercations with the Westminster players. Despite the Barons’ efforts, the game closed with a final score of 2-1, a victory for Westminster.
“At times we played really well — we showed our potential,” said head coach Christian Bobak. “Other times it was a tougher battle, but overall, I think we learn a lot more from a loss and I know we have the guys on the team that will continue to build and learn from this and move forward.”