Men’s soccer dominates Millikin ahead of final stretch of UAA matches

| Staff Reporter
A soccer player in a white jersey and the number 18 plants his right foot and has his left leg in the air as a player in a blue jersey with a diagonal white stripe chases him on the right side.

Sophomore Rabee Haidari chases down a ball against North Park last month. (Photo by Jamie Nicholson/Student Life)

The Washington University men’s soccer team dominated Millikin University on Saturday  afternoon in a 2-0 win to improve to 9-2-1 and earn their eighth clean sheet of the season.

After four straight conference games against the likes of Emory University and the University of Rochester, the men’s soccer team looked to switch their schedule up a bit in a non-conference matchup against Millikin. It was a dominating display for the Bears, as they managed to register 21 shots, 11 of them on goal, compared to Millikin eight shots, only half of which were on goal. The Bears started the game well, and just five minutes into action their hard work was rewarded with freshman John Daniels assisting senior Nolan Wolf on a 10-yard strike for the first goal of the game. The Bears looked to add another goal to their lead in the 13th minute when sophomore Owen Culver shot the ball, but to his disappointment, it hit the woodwork. 

Millikin was not totally out of the game though, as in the 24th minute they managed to register a shot of their own when a dangerous cross into WashU penalty box found Millikin’s Floris Goldschmeding, but a diving deflection from senior Matt Martin denied him a goal. Nine minutes later, the Bears responded with a second goal, the final one for the afternoon; a high kick ball from Martin managed to find its way into the Millikin penalty box at the feet of freshman Joseph Hipskind. With not much to do once he found himself one on one with the goalkeeper, Hipskind chipped the ball over Millikin goalkeeper, off the crossbar and into the back of the net, scoring his first WashU career goal.

The second half of the game did not have much action. With the fate of the game in their control, the Bears turned to their reserve players to finish the job and keep up the pressure. A totally different lineup saw the likes of graduate student Chad Wunderlich keep things tight at the back in the goalkeeping position after subbing for Martin at halftime. Wunderlich managed to make one save on the afternoon, completing the clean sheet in the process.  

Clarke praised Wunderlich’s performance. “He played well. Chad is an experienced goalkeeper, he’s a graduate student and has a few years behind him — a very successful Division III goalkeeper and his attitude has been phenomenal,” he said. “[Wunderlich] just came into a situation where Matt Martin has been game in and game out just a tremendous goalkeeper. And so that’s the hard part of being a goalie is that you might have someone else there, that gets the nod ahead of you and then never, ever opens the door and Chad has just worked his tail off. He’s never complained at all.”

Clarke also spoke highly of the team’s performance in registering their eighth clean sheet of the season. “[Defense] starts from the top. I mean the striker spot,” he said. “So yes, the backline is continuously evolving continuously, but you’re only dependent on everybody on the field defending, and we’re trying to have a mentality about that together.” 

The Bears will return to action on Friday, October 29 at Carnegie Mellon in the first of three University Athletic Association matchups to close out their season.

More on men’s soccer’s best season in years:

Men’s soccer vaults to No. 9 in rankings after win over Rochester

Why Sergio Rivas, who leads men’s soccer with four goals in three games, says he peaked in middle school

Men’s and women’s soccer have big weekends

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