Xavier’s homeless men (more on that later) can look back on the latest week of soccer with both happiness from taking two results from nationally ranked teams, and a bit of chagrin that they weren’t able to do more. Two 1-1 draws moved Xavier soccer to 1-1-2 on the season. Those two draws, both after taking early leads, now add up to one more than the Musketeers had during their excellent 2015 campaign.
Part of Xavier’s inability to hold the lead they earned against #16 Dartmouth may come down to a simple lack of home field advantage. Imagine, if you will, Edmond Sumner suiting up to play a home game on UC’s campus. It’s a lot more difficult to imagine throngs of cheering fans clad in blue and white for a basketball game if the location of that home game is Fifth Third Arena. That’s exactly what the footballing Musketeers faced when they “hosted” Dartmouth at UC’s Gettler Stadium.
In case you haven’t looked outside recently, the drought conditions that still plague parts of northern Ohio have lifted in Norwood. That onslaught of rain has flooded Xavier soccer out of its home and onto the road. That’s probably not to blame for allowing Dartmouth an 89th minute equalizer directly from a throw, but it certainly isn’t an advantage for the Musketeers. An early goal from Derrick Otim, formerly of Nottingham Forest, couldn’t be made to hold up and gilt edged chances in both overtime periods went begging for Xavier, who took the point and headed back to their real home.
A foray to Virginia for a true road game earlier in the week had yielded a similar result. This time it was Matt Vasquenza striking in the second half to stake the Musketeers to a lead before the Cavaliers answered just four minutes later. Said Coach Andy Fleming of his team’s inability to hold two slim advantages “Allowing a goal with 26 seconds left in regulation, a lot of teams would have not responded well. We responded wonderfully and had command of the overtime and got back on the horse, so to speak. This team, no one's really beaten us yet. We've beaten ourselves and we've gotten a result in three of four games. But this team is very close to turning the corner.”
Where that corner may be next is yet to be determined, with Xavier scheduled to play the Crosstown Derby today at 7pm at a location not yet finalized.