The UD men’s soccer team had their first pair of home conference games this past weekend, beginning with a match against Centenary College on Friday.
The Crusaders did not wait long to get on the board. Freshman forward Nat Kajiwara led off the scoring with a goal in the fourth minute of the game, his third goal of the season.
The team remained aggressive throughout the game, attempting 25 shots, 12 of which were on the mark. Sophomore forward Chima Ogueri extended the lead in the 31st minute of the game with a goal of his own. The assist came from fellow sophomore forward Hunter Haugland.
The Crusaders came out of halftime with the same attacking mentality. At the 63:50 mark, Ogueri notched his second score of the game. To ensure that the outcome was not in question, senior midfielder Trae Hampton hammered home a rebound in the 71st minute to make the score 4-0.
Hampton credited the big wins from the previous weekend as a source of confidence for the team that led to their tremendous performance.
“I think we had a lot of energy going into the game,” he said. “That led to production in the offensive third.”
While the offensive outburst was certainly the story of the game, the defensive effort should not be overlooked. The defense was able to hold the opposition to just 4 shots.
“We were able to pressure Centenary into mistakes, which we capitalized on,” Hampton added. Freshman goalkeeper Sean Carlin had three saves and posted his second straight shutout.
On Sunday the Crusaders were back at it against the Kangaroos of Austin College.
UD fell behind in the first half, giving up an 18th minute goal. The Crusaders were not able to score in the opening half. However, the team came out of halftime much more aggressive, outshooting the Kangaroos 15-4 in the second half.
Senior midfielder Luke Schwarz equalized in the 60th minute, scoring on a penalty kick. Ogueri and senior midfielder A.J. Zaugg each had shots late in the second half, but both were stopped by Austin College’s goalkeeper. The team went to overtime for the fifth time this season, and after two extra periods neither team was able to score and the game ended in a tie.
On potential improvements for the Crusaders, Schwarz said that “we need to finish the chances we create and keep our composure in and around the box.”
However, he did like how the team responded to the deficit coming out of halftime, saying, “We did well to adjust their formation in the second half. We were all over them the second half and both overtimes.”
The Crusaders will look to improve their conference record this coming weekend, as they travel to play Texas Lutheran and Southwestern University.