By Jordan Atkins
The Lawrence University Men’s soccer team dropped its non-conference match-up against The University of Wisconsin Superior last Sunday by a score of 1-0.
Viking senior midfielder, Santiago Alvarez, and freshman forward, Taylor Reifert, led the offensive charge for the road team, each compiling four shots each. The two teams played to a scoreless first half.
“The first half went well,” junior defender Dom Pasquesi said. “We created some good opportunities, but the game was more one-sided in the second half” The second half saw Lawrence struggle to keep the ball out of their defensive zone.
Despite firing off a season’s best 18 shots, the Vikes offense could not find the back of the net. Conversely, the Vikings defense allowed a season’s worst 23 shots. Lawerence, though not typically a tremendously physical team, was also given three yellow cards in the second half alone.
Vikings junior goalie, Joe Krivit, shined once again, stopping seven shots on goal to anchor Lawrence’s defense. However, a 66-minute goal by Yellowjacket forward Jon Bucklew, assisted by Reyman Solis, proved to be the difference. Krivit held the Yellowjacket offense to over a goal less than its season average per game, but the Vikings inability to finish its chances on the other end of the field allowed the Yellowjackets (8-2-0) to escape with the victory. The loss dropped Lawrence to 1-6-1.
Despite its early season struggles, the men’s soccer team has reasons to be optimistic heading into the meat of its schedule. Krivit leads the conference with a save percentage of .811. “Having Joe in the net lets me play higher up the field as a defender and have more confidence one on one,” Pasquesi said. Krivit also returned the praise to his defensive unit, which includes Pasquesi as well as sophomores Lewis Berger and Sean Salansky among others. “We have a lot of confidence with each other. We have played a lot of games together,” Krivit said.
The Vikings are also waiting for the return of junior defenseman Nick Huth, who was been sidelined for most of the season with an abdominal injury. Huth, who started all 18 games last season, can bolster the team’s strong defense even more.
The team hopes that its continued strong defensive performances can spark some offense. “We need to play well for 90 minutes,” Pasquesi said. “We’ve had some good 15 minute stretches. We need to finish our chances. It just takes one [goal] to open the floodgates.”
Krivit added, “We can be dangerous. There’s a lot of speed on the team.”
The team has been competitive in every game it has played, and considers every game winnable. So far this season, Krivit believes that the team has a lot to build on. “We are on an upward trajectory.”
A top-4 finish in the conference will be necessary for the Vikings to earn a bid to the Midwest Conference Tournament for the first time since 2011, a tournament that no current Viking has competed in.
The Vikings non-conference games have ended, with the next nine games being against Midwest Conference teams.