Defense leads Cardinals to 1-0 shutout over St. Mary's
ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – Behind yet another strong
defensive performance, the CUA men’s soccer team ran its
unbeaten streak to seven matches with a 1-0 shutout of St.
Mary’s on the road on Tuesday. Mike Brennan scored the
game-winner for the Cardinals as they improve to 9-5-3 overall.
Following the match, CUA head coach Travis Beauchamp offered his thoughts. “We played well today; this was an opportunity for us to play a lot of guys. Being able to get some fresh looks is always nice and I thought the guys who were out there today performed well.”
CUA was credited with 13 shots in the match, while the Seahawks totaled six. There were eight combined corner kicks on the day, with the Cardinals taking five of them. Tom O’Leary stopped three shots in goal and got the win for CUA, while two St. Mary’s goalkeepers saw time, including Matt Savopoulos and Austin Brown.
The Cardinals came out aggressive from the start, with four shots in the opening ten minutes, two of which were saved. As it has done throughout its seven-match unbeaten streak, the CUA defense was relentless, holding the Seahawks without a shot for the first 41 minutes on Tuesday.
CUA had one final opportunity to get on the board towards the end of the opening half, but Earl Hamilton’s shot was stopped by Savopoulos, and the teams soon headed for halftime following a scoreless 45 minutes.
The Cardinals continued their aggressive play into the second half as Brian Maher took a shot just 41 seconds in that Brown was forced to make a save on. Maher then took two more shots in the next several minutes and soon after CUA was able to break through when Brennan found the back of the net. Brennan dribbled in towards the goal on the left side and slipped a shot into the right corner for his fifth score of the season.
From there the CUA defense took over, holding the Seahawks to only three more shots, one of which O’Leary stopped. The shutout is CUA’s sixth of the season, and third in its last seven matches.
“The defense has done very well of late,” Beauchamp explained. “And really, it’s been our team defense, that’s something we’ve stressed. ” He continued, “We’re looking to disrupt teams and take them out of their rhythm. As coaches we’re pleased that the guys have been able to execute the game plan so well.”
CUA will close out its regular season on Saturday when the Cardinals travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Moravian Greyhounds for a 3:00 match. With a win, CUA will clinch a berth in the upcoming Landmark Conference Tournament.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Beauchamp said. “Guys are excited for the challenge ahead of them, but we’re not going to change the way we train or prepare. All of our league games are huge and as you move through the season, each one seems to get bigger and more important. We’ve put ourselves in this situation and we’re fully prepared to handle the moment.”