By Owen Smith
The nearly 20 hours of travel was worth it after the Big Red men’s soccer team beat Emory and Oglethorpe in their own backyards in Atlanta this weekend.
The first match resulted in a dramatic 1-0 win over Oglethorpe in extra time. Cameron Boone ’17 broke the stalemate with a piercing volley off of a cross from teammate Luis Zamora ’19.
“The ball was high and to the back post. I was there and open and I struck it out of the air with the inside of my left foot,” said Boone, recalling the first goal of the season, and the first goal in his time at Denison. “Watching it go in was unreal because I don’t score a lot so it wasn’t a feeling I was used to, but it was awesome nonetheless.”
The emotionally charged win carried over to the next game, where they beat Emory University 2-1..
The match started with plenty of action as Karch Marjtenyi ‘19 scored the first goal of his college career two minutes into the match. The Eagles quickly responded and scored an equalizer six minutes later.
The game wore on with a no further scoring until the 89th minute when Emory committed a penalty in the box. This opened the door for Jordan Williams ‘18 to capitalize on a penalty kick, pushing the Big Red past the Eagles and taking the Sonny Carter Invitational title home to Ohio.
Denison’s goalie Blake Schach ’16 is returning for his final season, and says that the strong defense stands out this year compared to years passed.
“I believe that we could have a very special group in regards to our defense as it consists of all returning players with at least a year of experience,” Schach said. “As a group we want to set the tone for each and every game through tenacious and physical defense, with the hope that that mentality will extend to the rest of the team.”
The team spent ten days in Amsterdam where they trained and played against amateur Dutch teams. Boone credits that trip to the strong start from his team this weekend.
“Playing some of the teams over there definitely prepared us for this season,” Boone said. “The cohesiveness that began to form in Holland was solidified in our preseason, and I think it showed in our first two games this weekend.”
Looking forward to the rest of the season, the team knows it cannot get complacent if they want to reach their goals.
“Honestly, I believe that our group’s biggest challenge will be ourselves,” Schach said. “We have a very talented and hard-working group of guys so the sky’s the limit, but we have to stay humble. If we do that, I think we have a fantastic opportunity to fight for a conference championship and make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.”
The Big Red have their home opener this Wednesday against Wilmington at 7:00 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Charlie Hoffman