Men’s Soccer Ties Twice, Loses to Princeton

The Rams need a win Saturday against Loyola Chicago. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Rams need a win Saturday against Loyola Chicago. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

It was a busy two weeks for the Fordham men’s soccer team as they underwent three matches. They kicked things off in Philadelphia against Saint Joseph’s University, before traveling to Duquesne University and concluding back at home for their last non-conference matchup of the season against Princeton University. 

The Rams came out strong in the first six minutes in the game against St. Joseph’s, ensuring that the first shot of the game became a goal. The play began from a through pass from graduate student Ben Shepherd to graduate student Daniel Espeleta, who took a shot from the six-yard box netting his third goal of the season.

While the Rams had the edge in terms of goals in the first half, they were outshot and had very few offensive attempts in the form of set pieces. Shepherd would take the only corner for the Rams in the 15th minute in the first half of play.

Fordham held strong for a majority of the game. However, they faltered just at the very end, conceding a goal to the Hawks. Saint Joseph’s freshman Luke Johnson handled a bouncing ball, dropping it off for graduate student Omry Perel, who slipped the ball right out of reach for Fordham’s senior goalkeeper Callum James.

With such little time left, the Rams and Hawks tied for the first game of the week, making this Fordham’s eighth draw of the season.

The Rams turned their offensive woes around in their matchup against Duquesne in Pittsburgh, as the Dukes celebrated their Senior Day. 

Fordham had to battle back from a 2-0 deficit as the Dukes got on the board first. Scoring off their first two shots, the first goal came from freshman Ask Ekeland, who took a shot from 30-yards out that was impossible for James to stop. This is the freshman’s team-leading eighth goal of the year.

Just a few minutes later, the Dukes racked up their second goal as sophomore Maxi Hopfer crossed in the ball, finding the foot of junior Jacob Casha who slotted home his third goal of the season.

But, the Rams were not ready to drop this match. In the 26th minute, a foul called on Duquesne sophomore Christoffer Vie Angell gave Fordham a free kick taken by Shepherd. Shepherd sailed a cross towards the head of graduate student Timo Hummrich, who flicked it in to make the score 2-1 Dukes. 

The Rams were not able to get the equalizing goal in the first half, even though they outshot the Dukes 15-5. Fordham kept Duquesne’s keeper Domenic Nascimben, as he made eight saves in the first half alone. 

Kicking things off in the second half, the Rams got their equalizer from a cross from Hummrich to freshman Daniel D’Ippolito. This marks his first goal of the season.

In total, the Rams outshot the Dukes 27-12 with both goalkeepers being electric in the net, saving 16 total shots.

Neither team could take the lead, ending yet another Fordham Men’s Soccer game in a tie, their ninth of the year. As the regular season winds down, Fordham are still in striking distance of an Atlantic 10 Championship spot. Sitting 10th in the rankings, their next A-10 matchup against Loyola University Chicago is a must win. 

Duquesne clinched an A-10 Championship first round home game for the first time in program history with the draw against the Rams.

Fordham played their final non-conference game this week as well against Princeton University. Fordham started off the game scoring first with a rocket of a goal from Hummrich. The graduate student recovered a clearance from Princeton freshman Giuliano Fravolini Whitchurch and then drove it high into the right corner for the first goal of the game.

However, the Tigers answered back with a vengeance. Within a two-minute span, Princeton regained the lead, with the first goal coming off a free kick from senior Mateo Godoy. The midfielder would be a thorn in the side of the Rams, as he scored a second goal off an assist from sophomore Nico Nee. Nee found Godoy’s foot, who then beat graduate student goalkeeper Demetri Skoumbakis with a shot to the far post. 

In the 37th minute, the Tigers added another to the total with a low shot by junior Francis Akomeah, to make the score 3-1. 

The second half was much stronger for the Rams, increasing their number of corners and shots on goal. They were rewarded for their extra efforts with a goal late in the second half, hoping to keep the goal of tying the game alive. Shepherd lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper, making the score 3-2.

Yet, there just was not enough time for the Rams to see this one through, as they dropped the match 3-2 against the Tigers.

Now, the Rams enter crunch time as they prepare to face off against Loyola Chicago for their last regular season matchup. If they are lucky, they will make a return to the A-10 Championships, and if they lose, they will say goodbye to the 2022 season.