No.1 Ravens sneak by Chargers soccer

Joe Klaus, Sports Editor

On Oct. 19, the New Haven men’s soccer team had their toughest match of the year against the No. 1-ranked team in Division II, Franklin Pierce University. The Chargers struck first, but the experience and strength of the Ravens team prevailed, coming out on top 2-1.

The Chargers sat seventh in Division and were hunting for points heading into the final stretch of the season to improve their conference standing and clinch a playoff berth. The Blue and Gold welcomed a Ravens team that had conceded just five goals on the season and posted a perfect record on the year.

Early on, the Ravens showed why they were the top-ranked team, commanding possession and picking apart the Chargers’ midfield.

It was during the 32nd minute that the Chargers broke through, as Pau Santanach netted his 10th goal of the year to put the Blue and Gold up 1-0. This was the first time all season that the Ravens trailed in a match and only the sixth goal they had given up.

New Haven used the goal’s energy to push the tempo, but it was ultimately the Ravens that best handled the pressure. Just 10 minutes after Santanach and the Chargers took the lead, Braudilio Rodrigues brought the match level as his shot split the hands of keeper Themis Kastoris in the 42nd minute, taking the energy out of the Chargers.

Coming out of the half, the Ravens took the match, controlling possession and setting the tone. Just 10 minutes out of the break, Miguel Angel Pastor Gutierrez found the back of the net to give the Ravens the 2-1 lead.

The Chargers were unable to find any sort of relief as their offense struggled to make it into the attacking third. Kastoris and the back line held their own but were helped by a sloppy play from the Ravens front line, who struggled to finish inside the six. Even with the play it did not matter as the Ravens held on to take the match 2-1.

The Chargers remain seventh in the Division with four matches to go on the year, looking for points and an offensive surge before the postseason tournament.

The Chargers return to action this upcoming Saturday when they travel to Southern New Hampshire University, with kickoff coming at 7 p.m.