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Iron Blade

Men’s Soccer Rolls Over Mary Baldwin

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  • Payton Rausch, (12) sophomore, heads the ball for one of his three goals on the night.

  • Jonathan Nicacio, (29) sophomore, prepares to assist Payton Rausch in Rausch’s third goal of the evening.

  • Owen MacMeekin, (28) sophomore, edges out a Mary Baldwin player to win the ball.

  • Alvin Udoto, (25) freshman, moves past a Mary Baldwin player.

  • Payton Rausch prepares to notch another goal on the evening.

  • Leo Galpin, senior, holds the backline for the Panthers and moves the ball upfield.

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Payton Rausch scored his first goal of the season last night.

And his second.

And his third.

“He’s a guy we knew had goals within him,” said Head Coach Matt Cureton. “We knew we were waiting for the moment to click, and tonight was one of those moments.”

Behind those three goals the Panthers routed Mary Baldwin University 5-0 at home.

Rausch wasn’t alone in the scoring, as Jonathan Nicacio literally kicked off the points fest early in the first half.

At the 5:13 mark, Erick Nolasco assisted Nicacio with a pass into the box that Nicacio played past the outstretched hands of the Fighting Squirrels goal keeper. The 1-0 score was all the Panthers needed on the night, but a little more than nine minutes later, Amanual Walie also found the back of the net at the 16:39 mark on an assist from Alvin Udoto to make thee score 2-0.

Rausch then added two of his three, the first at the 20:39 mark, and the second with less than four minutes remaining in the half. Rausch’s first goal was assisted by Callum Harrison.

Rausch’s second goal found pay dirt with less than four minutes remaining in the half. Massimo Cirignaco was credited with the assist.

The Panthers rode the 4-0 lead into the half, but Rausch wasn’t done. At the 65:30 mark in the second half, Nicacio found Rausch in the box, and Rausch completed the hat trick as he knocked it past the diving goal keeper.

Cureton said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“Overall it was good,” he said. “We were able to get a lot of guys minutes, and level dropped a little bit. We’re a young team, with seven freshmen starting, and we need some to step up and be leaders. If we can have that, we’ll see bigger spells of what we actually want from the group, but overall–very happy with the evening.”

The Panthers tallied 16 shots on the night, seven of them on frame, whole holding Mary Baldwin to only one shot on goal.

Freshman goal keeper Dillon Ghosh, who spent all 90 minutes guarding the net, saved the one shot–a free kick that looped high toward the goal. Ghosh snagged the ball just under the cross bar, his body inside the goal, but keeping the ball in front of the line for the save.

“He’s settled in really well,” Cureton said. “(He’s) someone we knew would be competing for the one spot. And we knew that his standards and expectations for himself this season were going to be very high. Obviously, he’s come in and started two out of the four games so far. I’m really happy with the clean sheet.”

The lack of Meredith shots was due in part by the loaded middle the Panthers obtained in the 3-4-2-1 formation.

“I’m a big advocate of the 3-4-2-1, playing the box in the midfield,” Cureton said. “Typically, teams play three, especially within the ODAC, and I think if we throw four in there, it gives us numerical superiority.”

Still, Cureton wants to see the team’s transition from offense to defense get stronger.

“In this shape, we’re playing a possession style, and when it does break down, we can be a little vulnerable,” he said.  They had a low block but left three high, and they transitioned on us. And they ran at us. There were moments where we dealt with it really, really well tonight, but I think for tougher opponents, it could be another issue. But we want to play. And that’s always going to be committing numbers forward, so can we minimize and mitigate those chances?”

Cureton’s next match will be this Saturday, away, facing Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, NC.






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