MEN’s SOCCER: Tops prep for MVC with 4-0 win

Joanie Baker

Evan Reinhardt single-handedly kept Western from snatching the win, keeping all 21 of the Topper’s shots from seeing the back of the net.

But like a psychic looking into a crystal ball, Trey Alexander predicted that night that Western would have a win soon. Alexander predicted there would be a catalytic early goal which would spur many goals afterwards. And to fulfill his prophecy, Western shutout Belmont last night 4-0.

But before the team ended its four-game losing streak, it had to take a lesson from Butler. The Bulldogs relied on their goalkeeper to instinctively shut out Western, while their offense contributed only nine shots and a controversial goal in the first half that won the game 1-0.

At the beginning of the first half, captain Scott DeGaris pulled a muscle that forced him out the rest of the game. Despite his substitute, Jeremy Weber, playing well, the team’s chemistry seemed a little off after DeGaris left the field.

Yet, Western did not lose the game solely on DeGaris’ absence. As of Friday, Western was falling into a bad habit that was becoming more apparent with each game. The team as a whole did not pick up the intensity until its opponent had scored. Consequently, the Toppers were on a losing streak in which each game was lost by one goal.

Coach David Holmes said the Butler game was almost a repeat of an earlier season game.

“In the second half we generated more attacks, in the first half we struggled,” Holmes said. “This game was pretty similar to a lot of the games we’ve played this year. Both teams were very close. We created a lot of opportunities, but just fell a little bit short.”

After the game, the Toppers looked like someone had sucker-punched them and knocked the wind out of them unexpectedly. The players had come out with high morale and thought for sure they could snap the losing streak.

Luck saw it the other way, and the players got dressed without saying much to each other at all.

Alexander said he was very impressed with the team’s resilience in spite of being 2-5-1. “If we could just get one goal early in the next game, our confidence level will be up,” Alexander said. “Everybody will be striking the ball better, and more goals will definitely come.”

Western traveled to Nashville yesterday and finished its non-conference schedule with a win, as the Toppers shut out Belmont 4-0, just as Alexander predicted.

“Tonight was one of those nights when everything we hit went in,” Holmes said in a press release. “The guys let out their frustration of being out-shot by teams the last few matches and getting beat by one goal. This was just a really good win as we enter conference play.”

Western (3-5-1) out-shot the Bruins 19-10, with goals coming from Ron Plute and Brad Benz, and two from Steven Medlock.

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