Xavier Clinches A-10 Berth, Beats Rhode Island, 6-0
CINCINNATI -Twins Matt Walker and Will Walker each scored twice and the Xavier men's soccer team secured a berth in the Atlantic 10 Tournament with a 6-0 victory at home over Rhode Island on Friday night.
Luke Spencer and John McDermott also scored for the Musketeers (12-1-4, 5-1-2 Atlantic 10) who have 11 goals in their last two matches. Each Walker brother had one assist, along with Spencer, Adar Cohen, Nick Hagglund and Rhodes Moore.
Xavier improved its point total to 17 in the conference securing at the moment no worse than a fifth seed in next week's Atlantic 10 Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
The Walker twins' two-goal games were the ninth and 10th two-goal games this year for the Musketeers, who have already eclipsed last year's goal total.
Will Walker had the second and third goals for the Musketeers, who played with a man advantage for 83 minutes. He outran two defenders to a long pass in the 39th minute and buried home a shot over back-up goalkeeper Adam Blanchard. Spencer set up his second goal in the 50th minute that went far post from tight quarters.
Matt Walker had the next two goals for the Musketeers with his first coming in the 56th minute as he slipped through defenders to receive a pass from his brother. His posted his second goal in the 60th minute on a rocket from just outside the top of the penalty box. It was his second-straight two-goal game and third of the season.
Spencer had the game-winning goal for Xavier in the 5th minute. It was his team-leading 12th goal of the season. He would have had a second if not for a handball outside of the penalty box by Rhode Island's starting goalkeeper Thomas Spenser who received a red card.
McDermott buried the final score of the night for the Musketeers on a brilliant, bending free kick that went untouched. It was the junior's first goal of his career.
Starting goalkeeper Justin Marshall earned the victory for Xavier and combined with Andre Bezerra and Matt Paprocki for the shutout win. Spenser was credited with the loss after seven minutes of play.
Xavier held advantages in shots (26-3), shots on goal (14-3) and corner kicks (5-3).
The Musketeers matched their win total from last year and are one win away from setting a new program record for most victories in a season. That win could come as Xavier closes out the regular season and celebrates Senior Day on Sunday against Massachusetts. The match is schedule for a 1 p.m. kickoff with festivities to being prior to the start of the match.