Men’s soccer takes home the hardware in D.C. road trip

TORIN O’BRIEN
Special to The Leader

Two games, two last minute goals, two wins and one trophy can sum up this past weekend for the men’s Blue Devils soccer team.

After their weekend road trip to Washington D.C., the Blue Devils Men’s Soccer team is now 2-0, with a victory over Hampden-Sydney College (VA) on Friday and knocking off #24 ranked Dickinson College (PA) on Saturday with a last-minute header goal by freshman Hunter Critchlow.

The Blue Devils were invited by host school Catholic University to partake in their first ever “Turk” D.C. Classic, in honor of the school’s Hall of Famer, Hicabi “Turk” Emekli.

According to the Washington Post, Emekli was a player and coach for Catholic, as well as an immigrant who dedicated over 60 years of his life to expanding the sport of soccer here in the U.S. Now 88, Emekli is ill with Alzheimer’s, but gladly accepted the induction into the Virginia/D.C. area HoF in February.

In their game against Hampden-Sydney on Friday, the Blue Devils got started early with a goal by senior midfielder Chase Lipshie in the third minute of play. Hampden-Sydney sophomore midfielder Liam Hogan notched the games equalizer at the end of the first half to lock it at one going into the half.

It wasn’t until the ninetieth minute, however, that Fredonia was able to break that 1-1 tie with a penalty kick goal by junior defenseman, Mike Biggane, out of Amherst, NY. Junior keeper Sammy Torrelli made his Blue Devil debut, earning one save in the 2-1 victory.

Saturday’s game against Dickinson was more of the same nail-biting action. The Blue Devils were able to prevail again — this time with a header goal from freshman defenseman Hunter Critchlow off a free kick from Chase Lipshie in the 90th minute.

For the second time in two days, the Devils sealed the deal in the ninetieth minute of play. And in doing so, Torrelli was given his first career shutout with three saves.

It’s a great start for men’s soccer, who finished last year with an overall record of 5-12-1 (2-6-1 in conference play). It’s a confidence boost that will hopefully carry over into the home opener against Mount-Saint Mary (12-5-3 in 2013) on Friday here at University Stadium.

The Blue Devils are hoping to make waves in conference play this season. With a plethora of young talent, it will be exciting to see what veteran coach P.J. Gondek can do with the squad.

And wouldn’t you know it, Fredonia took home the trophy in the first ever “Turk” D.C. Classic.

Friday’s game will begin at 7 p.m., followed by Saturday’s at 2:30 p.m. against Houghton College. Then, it all wraps up with Geneva College on September 13th for the final part of the three game homestand.

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