Men's Soccer |
Sept. 2, 2012
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men's soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision against No. 22 Xavier on Sunday evening (Sept. 2) at the XU Soccer Complex.
UC's seven-match unbeaten streak against its crosstown rival was snapped at seven (5-0-2). The match was played in driving rain and was delayed at halftime for more than an hour by lightning.
"I thought the effort was good, the energy was good," said head coach Hylton Dayes. "It's a rivalry game, so our guys were going to come ready to play. Xavier, to their credit, competed well on their home field."
Xavier (2-0-1) struck first in the 31st minute when Matt Walker slotted a pass in to Luke Spencer, who slid a right-footed shot past Taylor Hafling for a 1-0 lead.
The Musketeer advantage was short lived as the Bearcats struck just a minute later on a build up along the left side. Cole DeNormandie controlled at the top of the area, spun right and fed Matt Bahner, who beat Justin Marshall for his first goal since 2010. The second-team All-BIG EAST midfielder missed the entire 2011 season with a knee injury.
"We hadn't scored in two games, so for us it was important to break that ice," said Dayes. "And for Bahner to do it - he hadn't scored all year - was very good for us because we need to get him on track. I thought coming back from a goal down was very positive for our guys."
The Bearcats pushed the tempo at the end of the first half, creating a few quality chances, but the match went to the half tied at 1-1.
Then the storms came. The match was delayed with both teams in their locker rooms for more than an hour with lightning in the area.
The match resumed following the delay and Bahner nearly gave the Bearcats the lead just minutes into the second half. He carried the ball down the right side before cutting onto his left foot in the 18-yard area and ripping a left-footed shot off the crossbar in 47th minute.
Xavier scored immediately on the ensuing possession following a defensive miscue on the left flank, which allowed Luke Spencer to run onto the ball in the corner and find Will Walker at the penalty spot. He slotted a shot past Hafling to give XU a 2-1 lead.
Xavier nearly made it 3-1 in the 75th minute when Matt Walker's unmarked header from inside the six-yard box was saved by Hafling.
The Bearcats pushed forward in the final minutes looking for the equalizer, but were unable to find it and fell to 1-3-0.
"Goals are hard to score in college soccer, especially against Xavier," Dayes continued. "The defend well, they have a good goalkeeper, and they put a lot of bodies in front of the ball."
UC will head to the ProRehab Aces Classic on Friday, Sept. 7, to take on Bradley. The Bearcats will wrap up tourney play against Evansville on Sunday, Sept. 9.