By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
The Roanoke Men’s Soccer team swept its ODAC match-ups last week, securing wins against Randolph-Macon and Shenandoah.
The Maroons first ODAC game of the year pitted them against a Randolph-Macon team with a solid 4-2 record in non-conference play. Roanoke entered with a similar, 4-3 record, setting the stage for a tightly contested match.
The first half was dominated by a back and forth affair between the two squads. Both defenses stifled the opposing offense, leading to a battle for field position and only a few shots on goal for both sides. Despite the entrenched Yellow Jacket defense, Brandon Baur was able to inject some offense into the Maroon’s game early in the contest. He recorded two shots, one on goal, during the first 20 minutes of action. However, through the first 45 minutes, Randolph-Macon outshot Roanoke 6-4. Cole Sinclair, the Maroons’ stalwart goalkeeper, made two saves to prevent a Yellow Jacket score. The teams remained tied 0-0 at the end of the half.
Moving into the second period, Baur came out shooting again, this time connecting in the 54th minute with a bullet from the right side of the box, giving the Maroons a 1-0 lead. Recognizing their lead was slim, the Maroons continued to press their offense and managed two more shots on goal, one of which was a narrow miss by Robby Lentine. Unfortunately, the Maroons were able to increase their lead and had to rely on their defense to hold the line. Putting the Maroon defense to the test, the Yellow Jackets fired off two strong shots on goal late in the period, but Fortune Sibanda made a beautiful block on one and Cole Sinclair managed to save the other. This proved to be the last effort for RMC and the final horn sounded with the Maroons holding on to their 1-0 lead and securing their first ODAC win of the season. With the win, the Maroons also moved to a solid 5-3 record on the year
Traveling to Shenandoah, the Maroons looked to have an easier matchup against the 3-4 Hornets.
Senior Tyler Carbaugh was all over the field during the first half, facilitating the Maroons offense and pushing the attack early on Shenandoah. In the 27th minute, Carbaugh fired off a beautiful pass that led to an Adam Yesbeck header and a 1-0 Maroon lead. Ten minutes later, Carbaugh again worked his magic and set up Orestis Ilias for the second Maroon strike of the first half. The rest of the half was all Maroon offense, with the Hornets failing to record a single shot and the Maroons firing seven total on their way to a 2-0 domination of the first period.
In the second half, the Maroons picked up right where they left off, with Ilias recording his second goal of the match after finishing an excellent pass from Patrick Daum. With the score 3-0 and the Hornet offense continuing to falter, the game was all but over. However, Baur scored his second goal in as many games during the 72nd minute to push the Maroon lead to 4-0, which is how the game would end. When the final horn sounded a resounding Maroon victory, Roanoke had outshot the Hornets 11-3 in the game. Sinclair and the stellar Maroon defense recorded their second shutout of the season.
UPDATE: Wednesday saw the Maroons face Randolph in what would be a game dominated by two strong defensive performances. Roanoke’s Cole Sinclair and Randolph’s CJ Stevens both played incredible games in net, recording 6 saves each in double overtime action. Both teams had numerous scoring opportunities during the game that seemed to be guarantees, only to have their chances thwarted by a diving save or a lucky break. Roanoke launched a solid 13 shots during the game, but their efforts were matched by Randolph’s 13, including one more shot on goal. Despite their failure to connect, the Maroons offense looked strong and had plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game. However, the game ended in a nail-biting 0-0 tie that broke the Maroons perfect ODAC record and moved them to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the ODAC.
The Maroons next host Eastern Mennonite tonight at 7:00pm, weather permitting. Be sure to come out and support the Maroons as they look to defend their home turf against an ODAC rival.