In its second exhibition game in two days, the Trinity men’s soccer team could not match the St. Mary’s Rattlers in the game’s second half and lost by a single goal.
Trinity scheduled the exhibition game against St. Mary’s University, a Division II institution, one day after Trinity’s annual intersquad scrimmage that pits returning players against newcomers. The absence of fresh legs proved to be the Tigers’ Achilles’ heel, as they lost the lead in the second half.
“I think we dominated the first half, but that’s where the fitness came into play,” said Josh Davis, junior midfielder. “I think the level of speed dropped in the second half, and I guess they came in more physically prepared for the game, and they took it away from us.”
The first half started slowly. Trinity began the offensive attack in the 13th minute when sophomore forward Wesley Mitchell initiated a give-and-go with senior forward Austin Michaelis. Mitchell’s shot dribbled just right off the goal post.
St. Mary’s team responded with an attack of its own in the 17th minute when Rattler first-year Marlon Flores Flores evaded Trinity sophomore right back Rodrigo Castillo. Flores crossed the ball to the middle, but no other Rattlers were there to capitalize on the advance. Trinty Senior center back Liam Looney easily cleared the ball back to midfield.
In the 23rd minute, Trinity junior midfielder Brady Johnston ended the deadlock tie with a left-footed shot from about 10 yards out to put Trinity on the board. After getting the ball on the left side, Mitchell crossed the ball towards Johnston, who put it in the back of the net.
“I remember having great movement from my teammates to open up space in the middle,” Johnston said. “The ball is played to Wesley Mitchell’s feet on the edge of the box who laid the ball off to me. The only thing in my mind [was] to drill the ball into the corner. Thankfully, the ball rose into the roof of the net.”
St. Mary’s had a solid chance to tie the game in the 38th minute when Trinity senior goalie McCaleb Taylor attempted to clear the ball but instead kicked it right to Rattler Luis Aranda. Since Taylor had vacated the goal to clear the ball, Aranda had a wide open goal to shoot at. Instead, Aranda took one too many dribbles and the Tiger defense knocked the ball away from him and cleared the ball away from the danger zone.
In a play that seemed to shift the momentum over to St. Mary’s favor, Rattler Ollie Wright kept the Tigers on their heels for a good minute as he single-handedly evaded multiple defenders before passing to Aranda inside the box. Aranda unleashed a strong shot towards the bottom left corner of the goal, but Taylor made the save.
After halftime, both teams seemed fatigued, as if they just awoke from a snooze. Neither team threatened to score until after the 64th minute.
After the referee called a foul against Trinity, St. Mary’s had a free kick from about 30 yards. St. Mary’s player Carlos Blasco passed the ball towards the middle where his teammate Aiden Henry headed it past the reach of Trinity junior goalkeeper Blake Lieberman, who had entered the game following halftime.
Neither team had a chance to break the 1–1 tie until the 80th minute when Johnston led an attack on the Rattlers defense. Rattlers goalkeeper Gerard Roebuck deflected a well-placed shot towards one of his teammates, leading to a counterattack. The Rattlers raced down the field and Pato Botello Faz put the ball into the net.
Trinity tried to respond in the 83rd minute. Sophomore midfielder Ethan Moore took the corner from the left side and crossed it into the box. After a few competitive headers, the Rattlers cleared the ball and thwarted the Tiger’s attempt to tie the game.
Overall, Trinity seemed to struggle adjusting to counterattacks, which may be due to the team’s new 4–2–2–2 formation.
“We are also rocking a new formation, so we are learning a lot still, “ Davis said.
“Depending on the game, last year’s formation was a 4–5–1. We have a few things to figure out in terms of positioning, but I think we have got a good group of guys.”
Trinity will play its first game of the regular season in a home match against Rutgers-Newark University at 8 p.m. on Aug. 31.
| Class of 2021 | Majors: Neuroscience |