WashU Men’s Soccer loses UAA opener against Emory

and | Sports Editor and Contributing Reporter

Forward Ethan Wirtschafter attempts to control a pass ( Bri Nitsberg | Student Life )

In a thrilling showdown this past weekend, the Washington University men’s soccer team (3-4-1) took on the formidable #5 Emory University Eagles in its inaugural University Athletic Association (UAA) conference match. The Francis Field stadium buzzed with anticipation as eager students and parents poured in to witness the Bears’ UAA opener at home.

Both teams radiated confidence as they stepped onto the field, ready to infuse the match with much zeal and excitement. The Bears came out swinging in the first half, generating numerous scoring opportunities despite Emory’s dominance in ball possession. Senior Owen Culver ignited the offense, launching three shots within the first 12 minutes of the game. Furthermore, sophomore Zach Susee threatened the Eagles’ goal with two impressive attempts, but Emory’s goalkeeper managed to block the shots. Corner kick after corner kick, the Bears pressed on relentlessly but could not find the back of the net in the first 45 minutes.

“We just need to capitalize more on the chances we get to score. It is important to be relentless, and we just gotta follow through,” junior Landon Green, who played all 90 minutes, said after the match.

The Eagles, too, unleashed their offensive prowess in the first half, but the Bears’ defense was unbreakable. Freshman goalie Owen Ross demonstrated his mettle, making two incredible saves, defending WashU’s goal. Despite the season’s goalie rotation, Ross earned the starting position for the third time.

However, after halftime ended and both teams regrouped for the second half, the match took a challenging turn for the Bears. After a scoreless first half, Emory managed to break the deadlock, capitalizing on a poorly defended corner in the 64th minute.

Undeterred, WashU continued to fight, creating numerous opportunities to level the score, but to no avail. In the 82nd minute, a lifeline appeared as Emory’s Jaden Emoghene received a second yellow card for a dangerous tackle, reducing the Eagles to 10 players. But the Bears were unable to exploit the advantage. In a dramatic twist, Bears freshman defender Carter Sasser received a straight-red card, leaving both teams with 10 players on the field. Moments later, WashU conceded a foul on the edge of the box, offering Emory a dangerous free-kick opportunity. Colton Myers of Emory secured a goal with less than five minutes left in the game.

Despite the disappointing loss, the Bears remain steadfast in their pursuit of excellence in the UAA. Head Coach Joe Clarke emphasized, “I’m really happy with how the guys played…there were tons of positives in today’s game from our team.”

Echoing this sentiment, Green affirmed, “we always talk about becoming the best team in the country, and we want to win the UAA. This will be one of the best teams to play, but every UAA team will be good, so it definitely will not be easy.”

WashU’s next game is a matchup on Wednesday night at Webster University before another UAA showdown, where the Bears will play Brandeis University at home this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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