October 07, 2016 by Carly Helfand
The Drexel University men’s soccer team continued its offensive struggles this week with a 1-0 loss to the University of North Carolina in Wilmington Oct. 1 and a 2-0 loss to Columbia University Oct. 4.
The Dragons have now lost, and been scoreless in, six straight games since the team’s sole victory against Temple University Sept. 13.
Drexel travelled to the Upper West Side Oct. 4 to take on the Columbia Lion’s, which happened to be their third Ivy League opponent of the season.
Early on in the match, the Dragons had some opportunities to strike first. Sophomore Ilai Shvika, Drexel’s leading goal scorer this season, missed a shot high over the crossbar in the 10th minute and subsequently missed a shot wide of the goal post in the eleventh minute.
From that point on, the Lions dominated the first half, taking seven shots without allowing the Dragons to get off an attempt. In the 34th minute, Rhys Williams scored a goal for the Lions off an assist from Dylan Mott to give Columbia a 1-0 lead. The Lions would take their 1-0 lead into halftime.
At the start of the second half, the Dragons had a few good opportunities for an equalizer, but were unable to capitalize.
In the 50th minute, Dragons freshman Eden Ben Hemo saw his shot sail high over the crossbar. Hemo got another chance to score in the 53rd minute, when he headed the ball towards Columbia’s goal off a corner kick from senior Aaron Thompson. However, Hemo’s shot was saved by the Lion’s keeper Dylan Castanheira.
Following Castanheira’s lone save of the match, the Lion’s went on a stretch of play where they attempted five shots before allowing Drexel to attempt one.
Columbia had a golden opportunity to add to their lead in the 70th minute when a yellow card by Drexel’s junior Erik Alexandersson set up a penalty kick for the Lions. However, Drexel’s senior keeper Tyler Afflerbach deflected away Alex Bangerl’s penalty shot for a save. The ball ricocheted to Williams, who attempted a shot for the Lions, but Afflerbach was able to make another great save to preserve the 1-0 score and keep the Dragons in the game.
After freshman Carlos Cuevas and Shvika missed shots wide left of the goal in the 73rd and 75th minutes respectively, Columbia took a 2-0 on a goal by Francisco Agrest in the 78th minute. Agrest’s goal was all the insurance the Lion’s would need as they held the Dragons scoreless for the remainder of the match, en route to a 2-0 victory.
Earlier in the week, the Dragons lost 1-0 at home Oct. 1 to the UNCW Seahawks, who were ranked 24th in the nation heading into the match.
Despite UNCW completely dominating the game in terms of shot attempts by out shooting Drexel 17 to 3, the Dragons were able to hang in with the Seahawks for the majority of the game.
Afflerbach put forth a tremendous effort for the Dragons, saving five shots on the day. In the fourth minute, Afflerbach got his first save of the contest, which also happened to be the 210th of his career and moved him into a tie with Dan McKendry for seventh place on the Drexel career saves list.
His tie with McKendry was broken in the 15th minute when Afflerbach saved a shot that came off the foot of UNCW’s Huntley Munn. Then in the 25th minute, Afflerbach saved a shot by Stian Sandbekkhaug on a breakaway one-on-one opportunity for the Seahawks.
Despite Afflerbach’s superb play, the Dragons were not able to get their offense going. In the 42 minute, Drexel sophomore Armin Efendic’s shot was saved by UNCW keeper Ryan Cretens. It would be Drexel’s only shot on goal of the game. The game went into halftime with both teams scoreless.
UNCW threatened to score in the 64th minute, but were once again denied by a superhuman effort from Afflerbach. Joel Bylander attempted a shot on goal, but had it sent away by afflerbach. Then, a second after Afflerbach deflected Bylander’s shot, Mark Lindstrom struck the ball towards the goal for the Seahawks. However, Afflerbach recovered and denied the Lindstrom shot, which preserved the tie and kept Drexel’s hopes for an upset victory alive.
In the 71st minute, it appeared that the Seahawks had scored the first goal of the game, but after a minute of discussing it, the refs retracted the call and ruled that a UNCW player was offsides.
The Seahawks coaching staff did not appear to agree with the call, but UNCW got a call in their favor when a questionable foul was called on Drexel in the 72nd minute, resulting in a penalty kick.
Julio Moncada attempted the penalty kick for UNCW. Afflerbach guessed left, but Moncada struck the ball to the right and converted to give UNCW a 1-0 lead. The Dragons had no answer to Moncada’s goal, and the score remained 1-0 until the final whistle blew.
With the two losses, the Dragons are now 1-8-2 on the season and 0-3-0 in Colonial Athletic Association matches.
Next up for the Dragons is a road match with the College of Charleston Oct. 8.