Men’s soccer struggles in A-10, opens with 1-1 draw and 2-3 loss

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Men’s soccer struggles in A-10, opens with 1-1 draw and 2-3 loss

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The men’s soccer team moved to 4-4-1 this season after a 1-1 draw on the road against Rhode Island on Saturday, Oct. 3 and a 2-3 overtime loss against Dayton on Wednesday, Oct. 7.  The Rhode Island match was the men’s first conference game of the year, as well as their first tie.

The Billikens were looking for a strong turnaround after a tough overtime loss to the University of Indiana last week.

The Rams and Billikens played a tight first half, with both teams having quality chances, but drawing 0-0.  SLU outshot Rhode Island 7-3 in the first period of the game and earned three corners to Rhode Island’s two.

Just a few minutes into the second half, SLU struck gold with a shot from Hajderovic at the top of the box, sailing into the upper 90 off a pass from Graydon.  Hajderovic now has two goals on the season, and Graydon is continuing to rack up the assists.

The Billikens held off the Rams for the next twenty minutes, until Rhode Island got a cross off and a forward connected with the ball to tie the game up 1-1.

Neither team could find the lead in the next twenty minutes, sending the game into overtime.  At the end of regulation, the Billikens outshot the Rams 11-9.  Otte kept the game alive with four saves.

The two teams continued to struggled offensively in overtime.  Each team had a corner apiece.  The Rams had four shots and SLU only found two.  Otte had five total saves in the 110 minutes of play, the most he has made against another Atlantic-10 team.

Both teams left with a point, but SLU had another chance just a few days later to walk away with a win, as they played the University of Dayton at Hermann Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The Billikens opened up the game against the Flyers with high offensive intensity.  However, Dayton converted early on their first chance, picking off a backward pass in the eighth minute to go one-on-one with Otte.  The Dayton forward easily passed it into the back of the net.

In the 10th minute, junior forward Joe Saad pressed high on the Dayton backline.  One of the Dayton defenders attempted to pass the ball back to the goalie, but the lack of communication saw the ball pass the goalie for Saad to run onto and put in the back of the net.

And Saad wasn’t done just yet.  Just four minutes later, senior defender Filip Pavasic sent a cross from the left side to an unmarked Saad, who flicked it past the Dayton goalie to make it 2-1.  The pair of goals marks the first ever in Saad’s career.

In the 34th minute, SLU had another good chance off a cross from senior defender Marco Heskamp to the head of junior midfielder Jair Minors.  The goalie made a diving save to keep the Billikens from going two ahead.

Dayton attempted to answer on the transition play with a ball in behind the Billikens’ backline.  A Dayton forward got a cross off in the left flank, but the Bills could not clear the ball past the second wave of the Flyers’ offense.  Dayton just missed the near post off a volley from 12 yards out.

At the end of the first half, the Billikens led 2-1 and outshot the Flyers 8-4.  SLU had four corners to Dayton’s two, and Otte did not have to make any saves to the Dayton keeper’s five.

Dayton came out in the second half looking for an equalizer.  Five minutes in, the Flyers earned a corner and found the head of the near post player, but Otte made a crucial save to bat the ball away.

Dayton didn’t let the missed opportunity get them down.  On the next play, Dayton got the ball upfield and crossed it in to find the head of a forward to tie the game up 2-2.

Each team had multiple chances throughout the first part of the second half, but both still held even at eight shots apiece.  With ten minutes to go, freshman forward Anthony Brown broke through the back line but could not convert against the goalie.

Dayton had a handful of looks at goal in the latter portion of the second half as well.  Much of their success came from the flanks and flighted balls to the Billikens’ backline.  However, the men were able to hold off the Flyers for the remainder of regulation.

The second half remained tied, and the teams went into overtime. Three minutes in, the Dayton midfield played a ball behind SLU’s backline, and Otte left his line to punch the ball away.  A Dayton forward got on the ball and flicked the ball into the back of the net, giving Dayton the victory.  This was SLU’s third home loss of the season and second loss in overtime.

SLU is still currently ranked in the national top 25.  Two seniors also hold impressive NCAA records.  Senior midfielder David Graydon has the second-highest number of NCAA Division I career assists (23) of an active player, only to be topped by teammate and fellow senior forward Faik Hajderovic (24).

Sophomore goalie Sascha Otte is the only underclassman among the top 20 active players with the most NCAA Division I career shutouts.

The Billikens travel to  Massachusetts on Saturday, Oct. 10 and return home next Wednesday, Oct. 14 to take on Wisconsin, one of the last two non-conference games on the Billikens’ schedule.