After a rough non-conference schedule, the men’s soccer team began their conference season with a three-game home stand at Hermann Stadium. The Billikens ended their stretch with two wins against Fordham and Dayton. They also had one draw against George Washington. The Bills are now 8-3-1 going on the road against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne to begin the road portion of their conference schedule.
“I thought it was a good way to start the Atlantic 10,” said head coach Mike McGinty after the victory against Fordham. “We have high expectation to do well in the league and that was a tough Fordham team that came in here and had a great game plan… and I thought the guys handled it pretty well and did okay managing it.”
The Bills opened the conference season against the Fordham Rams on Friday, Oct. 11. Francisco Vizcaino got the first goal of the conference season for the Bills. In the 33rd minute, Vizcaino collected a rebound after a David Graydon shot and buried it in the back of the net. That was Vizcaino’s third goal of the season and gave the Bills a 1-0 lead.
“It was a rebound; I got a lucky bounce and put it past the keeper,” said Vizcaino on his goal.
In the 42nd minute, Kingsley Bryce added an insurance goal. After a beautiful sequence out of the back, the ball went to Alex Sweetin who passed it on to Vizcaino, who deflected it to Bryce, who knocked it into the goal. That was Bryce’s third goal of the season. That goal gave the Bills a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. However, the game against George Washington on Sunday, Oct. 13 was a different story.
The game was stagnant until the 44th minute when Sweetin scored a goal with the assist from Bryce and Filip Pavisic. That goal was Sweetin’s fourth goal of the season. That goal gave the Bills the 1-0 lead just before halftime.
The second half had a series of questionable calls from the officials, but the most hurtful to the Bills was Graydon being issued his fifth yellow card of the season. According to NCAA rules, if a player accumulates five yellow cards, they must sit out one match. Graydon had to sit out the match against Dayton. If Graydon receives three more yellow cards, then he must sit out another match.
After pressuring the Bills, George Washington broke through with a goal in the 88th minute, tying the game at 1-1. The Bills came close in the second overtime to scoring a goal, but could not convert. This gave the Bills their first draw of the season.
Saturday, Oct. 19, the Bills faced the Dayton Flyers. Dayton came into the game being the only team in the nation not having lost a match with a 10-0-2 record. The Bills changed that record on Saturday.
Bryce had a memorable game, scoring two goals and having one assist. He was involved in all three Billiken goals. In the 29th minute, Bryce got his first goal after getting a ball from Sweetin and knocked it into the back of the net. That was Bryce’s fourth goal of the season. In the 65th minute, Bryce gave an assist to Raymond Lee who knocked it into an empty net for the second goal. In the 72nd minute, the Bills got their third goal of the match after Robert Kristo made an assist to Bryce who beat the keeper for his second tally of the match and fifth goal of the season.The Bills allowed a goal late, but came away with the 3-1 victory. The Bills have a 2-0-1 conference record, giving them seven points, which places them as tied for second in the conference standings. La Salle currently sits atop the conference standings with nine points.
The Bills will begin their conference road schedule this Friday at St. Bonaventure and then will travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday.