Loras looks to carry momentum from victory over Simpson into upcoming match against ranked UW-Whitewater
After two tough losses, the men’s soccer team was looking to get things back on track this past Saturday in the Rock Bowl against the Simpson Storm to open up Iowa Conference play for the season.
The Duhawks (5-2-1) implemented their usual swarm style of play and put immediate pressure on the Storm (4-5-1) from the opening minutes of the game. After multiple shots and corner kicks the Duhawks were presented with multiple scoring opportunities.
Senior defender Justin Giacotto took advantage when he headed a cross into the back of the net from fellow seniors Kevin Higgins and Richard Lenke for his first goal of the season. The Duhawks were able to keep the Storm to minimal chances in the first half keeping the lead to 1-0 at the break.
The 1-0 lead wasn’t good enough for the Duhawks, as the offense pushed for more scoring opportunities in the second half. Thanks to sophomore forward Ike Bruns those opportunities came easily. In the 59th minute of the game Bruns crossed a perfect ball to wide open senior midfielder Bryan Irwin who headed home the second goal of the game, his first for the season.
“Ultimately our goal is to win conference, and we would love to go undefeated in conference and not give up any goals,” Irwin said.
“We would like to treat every game as if it was our last, and knowing that we have conference games coming up we definitely have to treat it that way, especially having already lost 2 games previously.”
Not too long after, Bruns again sent a cross into the Simpson box to find the head of senior forward Mike Gordon who was able to head in the third goal of the game in the 63rd minute.
“Our offense has been okay so far this season,” said Bruns. “I think a couple of major things we could work on would be a little more composure around the 18 yard box. We do well to get there, then it always seems like our final pass or our final touch lets us down. I think another big thing for our offense would be consistency. That will be a key component to our success this year if we can have a consistent 2, 3, or even 4 goals a game. Doing that I think we will be a tough team to beat given our senior experience on defense and in the midfield.”
Loras limited the Storm to six shots for the game, three of which were on goal. The Duhawks locked in the maximum number of points for an Iowa Conference game with three goals and the shutout.
“The ‘no goal patrol’ has been pretty strong to start this season and we’ve been doing well limiting our opponents’ opportunities, but one thing we need to stay focused on is doing the little things every day,” said Giacotto. “Staying tight on marks, practicing like we play, communicating; all those little things, but doing the little things everyday will make our job a lot easier once we start playing nationally ranked teams towards the end of the season.”
The men are facing the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Wednesday, who they beat 3-0 in the 2014 season.
“Whitewater will be another big test for us, but I have no doubt we’ll be ready to go by game time,” said Bruns.