Musketeers Close Out Successful Spring With Heartbreaking Loss at the Buzzer

El-Hadji Dieng had one of XU's best scoring chances.

El-Hadji Dieng had one of XU's best scoring chances.

May 4, 2010

DELAWARE, Ohio - The Xavier University men's soccer team closed out its 2010 spring campaign with a hard fought, last second loss to Division III power Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio on Friday night. The setback was Xavier's first and only loss of the spring, which ended with a 2-1-2 mark. The Battling Bishops scored on a mishit cross with just 16-seconds remaining, crushing Xavier's hopes for a first ever undefeated spring slate.

"A tough loss, no question, but a very telling lesson as far as the mere inches and seconds that come into play when deciding games," said head coach Andy Fleming. "Many coaches believe that in order to close games out and win close games, you first have to lose a heartbreaker or two. If this game helps us in the fall, then tonight served a purpose. We came into tonight within reach of all our goals that we set for the spring with a chance to go unbeaten, which speaks volumes of have far we've come in just four months."

Xavier came out flat in the first half and chased much of the game early on against the host team. However, Xavier had its best chance of the game late in the first half when Luke Spencer broke through for a breakaway, only to be stopped point blank by the OWU goalkeeper. XU did well to deal with the strong wind and weathered a few storms to remain deadlocked 0-0 at intermission.

The Musketeers played a more effective and spirited second half and again almost broke the deadlock when a Spencer flick header narrowly missed wide off of a nice cross from El-Hadji Dieng. Andre Bezerra did well with a point blank stop mid way thru the second stanza to keep Xavier's hopes alive.

The Muskies tallied three corner kicks in the game's final two minutes, but could not muster any chances, leading to a final last second OWU rush that resulted in the game winner.

 

 

"That's a Division III team by number only. They were by far the best side we saw all spring and were very dynamic in the attack and well organized. We had just three subs and did very well with some of the adjustments we had to make when guys picked up injuries during the game.

"To me, this resembled a Sunday, road Atlantic 10 game in which we didn't have our best stuff yet had to find a way to stay in the game and steal a result. We almost did that and I feel that we got better today, learned a few lessons, and answered some questions, which is what the spring is about."

"I want to commend our entire program and staff on what were productive winter and spring seasons. In just five spring games, we equaled our fall win and shutout total, while exceeding the total points we had in the fall. We gained some positive momentum and started to shape our culture, yet this final game left a sour taste in our mouths and will help serve as a motivator during the critical upcoming summer months."