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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Misfortune on the road


Men’s soccer struggles to win away games

The Saint Joseph’s University men’s soccer team lost a close match to Fordham University, 1-0, on Oct. 14. This marks the seventh road game in which the team was unable to get a win.

Head coach Don D’Ambra recognized a pattern in the Hawks’ play on the road.

“I think the biggest thing is combination of confidence and energy,” D’Ambra said. “Our energy level and intensity at home is much higher than it is on the road.”

The Rams scored what would prove to be the game winning goal just 24 minutes into the game. A Fordham cross found a player at the back post who got off a shot that was saved by senior goalkeeper Greg O’Connell initially. From there,  the ball found its way back to a Ram who found the back of the net to put the Hawks down, 1-0.

O’Connell had six saves on the game and freshman midfielder David Grana had his own defensive save, clearing a Fordham shot on goal in the 17th minute.

“They’re [Fordham] a super attacking team, so they were tough to defend, but I thought we defended them very well and we had a lot of offensive opportunities,” O’Connell said.

The Hawks had several chances to put the ball in the net with seven shots on goal throughout the game, including a close shot by freshman Ritchie Barry in the 51st minute  which was deflected by the Rams’ goalkeeper. Ultimately, the Fordham defense made a crucial save to keep their 1-0 lead.

Offensive plays have been a weak point for the Hawks throughout the season.

“Our offense is still a work in progress, even though recently we started to score goals,” D’Ambra said. “Some of them have come from defenders, so we’re asking our attacking players to be more assertive, particularly in the box.”

Neither team would score again after 14 shots from Fordham and 11 shots from St. Joe’s, ending the game in a 1-0 loss for the Hawks. This drops their record to 1-2-1 in the Atlantic 10 conference and 3-7-4 overall.

For a team starting seven freshmen, inexperience is a factor weighing against the Hawks. However, this youth will be an advantage in years to come.

“They’re playing way beyond their years as freshmen, but also there are times when they look like freshmen when they need to execute big plays late in the game,” D’Ambra said. “I do think it’s a factor as far as in the wins and losses columns, but it is extremely beneficial for the future of the program that this many guys are playing.”

Despite the loss, the Hawks are happy with their continued style of play.

“Team morale hasn’t dropped at all,” O’Connell said. “We’re playing our best soccer right now. Our coaches know it, we know it, it’s just a matter of getting results now. We know they’re going to come, we know we’re going to start scoring goals.”

The Hawks hope to get their first road win of the season when they play neighbor LaSalle University on Oct. 18. The team will return home to play on Sweeney Field on Oct. 21 against Virginia Commonwealth University.

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