On the end of a tough three-game losing streak, the UC Irvine Men’s Soccer team failed to halt their downfall, falling to Michigan State 2-0 on Sept. 14 at Anteater Stadium.
According to Head Coach George Kuntz, his team displayed positive flashes despite the end result.
‘We didn’t play up to our potential, but I saw some good moments from players toward the end and we also out-shot our opponent 15-10,’ Kuntz said.
During the beginning of the first half, UCI had more power over the ball than the Spartans.
Within the first few minutes of the game, Irvine had its first opportunity at a goal with a corner kick by sophomore midfielder Chris Klotz that junior forward Lorne Howlett tried to head in after an assist by freshman forward Brad Evans.
Michigan State senior goalkeeper Mike Robinson saved the ball, however, and the game remained scoreless.
One of the most exciting moments occurred later in the game when junior forward Ryan McMahen of Michigan State shot a corner kick. One of his teammates kicked the ball towards the UCI net but Anteater junior goalkeeper Cameron Rossi deflected it.
The Spartans kicked the loose ball again three consecutive times as they desperately tried to get one in but Rossi saved each attempt with the help of his fellow teammates.
From there, both teams charged back and forth on the field trying to score the first point of the game.
More corner kicks and shots to one another’s goal proved futile until the 32nd minute of the game when McMahen assisted senior forward John Minagawa-Webster’s charge toward the goal while the Anteater defense faded away to put them ahead of UCI by a score of 1-0.
After halftime, the Anteaters returned looking to score but both teams played aggressively, not wanting to give anything up. UCI looked determined to get a ball in the net as they tried time after time to score, but their shots were either deflected away or shot over the net. Evans provided one of the game’s most thrilling moments when he attempted to put UCI on the scoreboard but his efforts went wide and missed the box by only a few feet.
Moments later, Minagawa-Webster scored another goal to put the Spartans up 2-0. UCI’s defense was not aggressive enough, letting Minagawa-Webster slip by to score his second goal of the game.
After a few substitutions, it seemed as though UCI’s chance to score was imminent. The ball was in the air, aimed and inches away from entering the goalkeeper’s box. Robinson tapped the ball away with his glove and UCI’s chance to score went unanswered.
What hurt the Anteaters most during some crucial moments of the game was their lack of defense.
‘We need to do better on the attacking end,’ Kuntz said. ‘Our aspirations are that we learn from some early-season mistakes and pick up some ground on other teams.’
The Anteaters will compete in the Stanford Invitational this weekend at Stanford, Calif. UCI faces UC Berkeley on Sept. 26 and Stanford on Sept. 28.
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