The University of Mary Washington men’s soccer team took on Stevenson University this past weekend at the Battlegrounds Stadium. The Eagles were 1-0 in Capital Athletic Conference play entering the game, and UMW came out of the conference battle with a still perfect CAC record after winning 1-0.
The weather was hot and sunny as the Eagles took the field and the home crowd gave UMW the advantage of a twelfth man as they were loud and rowdy throughout.
The Eagles dominated the opening half, outshooting the Mustangs 12-4, but failed to get on the scoreboard. The scoreless game continued into the second half, and it wasn’t until the 53rd minute when a goal was finally tallied. Eagles sophomore Matt Alter attempted a cross that slipped through the keeper’s hands and off their own defender for an own goal.
“I was frustrated at first because I mishit the ball, I wanted to play it at about twelve yards out but it went off my foot wrong,” Alter said. “I was happy when I saw the keeper mishandled the cross and the ball bounced in. I know it is an own goal but it was a relief as it went in and it turned out to be enough to win the game and advance to 2-0 in the tough Capital Athletic Conference.”
Alter’s teammate, junior midfielder Smith Norton, also commented on the game-deciding goal.
“It may not have been the prettiest goal in the world, but it was necessary and crucial,” Norton said. “I know that we were the dominant team but if you do not capitalize then you can allow the other team to score. Luckily for us the keeper had a misplay and it was enough to give us the victory.”
Smith, who was injured the majority of last season, is back, and playing for the Eagles this year. Although he is still not running at 100 percent, his team has welcomed him back as a very important midfield player for UMW.
“I hated that I could not play last year and I am so glad to be back on the field,” Norton said. “My knee still gives me trouble occasionally but it’s nothing I can’t handle and I’m ecstatic to be back playing at close to full strength. Hopefully come conference tournament time I will be at 100 percent and be able to help my team in the way that I know I can.”
The game continued to be well fought by both sides but the Eagles were able to hold on seal the 1-0 victory. UMW outshot Stevenson 21-9
As of this publication, the Eagles are the only undefeated team in the Capital Athletic Conference. The men’s soccer team played last night against North Carolina Wesleyan College, but the game ended too late for results to be included in this issue.
UMW has a string of six straight conference matches coming up, beginning Saturday when they take on Frostburg State University on Saturday.