Men’s Soccer | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian
On Wednesday, the Wright State University men’s soccer team took Alumni Field to host Detroit Mercy University in the 2022 regular season finale.
Background and significance of the match
Entering the match, WSU led the all-time series 19-13-2. Last season, DMU defeated WSU 1-0, eliminating the Raiders from postseason play. The Titans entered play with a 4-6-5 overall record, going 3-2-3 in Horizon League play. DMU was clinging onto the sixth and final spot in the postseason tournament.
Wright State came into Wednesday following a 2-2 draw against Cleveland State the previous Saturday. Following the tie, WSU needed to win outright – with a Cleveland State loss – to secure first place. The Cleveland State team ultimately tied in its match, clutching the regular season title.
The season finale
The match got off to a quick start for WSU. The Raiders had efficient ball movement and were able to find gaps in DMU’s defense.
Within the first few minutes of the match, the ball struck senior Joe Kouadio’s eye.
“I was trying to block the long ball, and the bottom of his stud skid against my eyeball,” Kouadio said.
The issue did not seem to last long, as Kouadio got the Raiders on the board early in minute 11. Kouadio ran up the left side of the field before entering the box and striking a goal between the keeper and the left post. The goal was a personal second in two games.
“I just ran down the line and got a nice pass, cut in, made the fake shot and put it in by the post,” Kouadio described. “I have switched positions and am more in front of the goal, giving me more chances.”
In minute 23, the Raiders struck again. This time, Kouadio drove the ball down the side of the field and entered the box before crossing it in and finding junior Reece Allbaugh for the second goal of the match.
“I took a touch, the defender stepped, and I just smacked it into the top of the net,” Allbaugh stated.
The goal marked Allbaughs’ second in the last two games.
“I’m feeling confident, and my teammates are giving the ball in good positions to score,” Allbaugh noted.
WSU gave up a goal in minute 33 and took a 2-1 lead into halftime. The Raiders tallied 13 shots in the first half with five saves from Jonathan Kiewer of DMU, who won HL defensive player of the week last week.
The Titans went on to score its second goal in minute 55. Following the second goal from DMU, neither team managed to attack, ending in a 2-2 draw.
“Unfortunately, we kind of let off the gas and then had to dig in to get a tie,” head coach Jake Slemker said.
Heading to the postseason
Following Wednesday’s regular season finale, the Raiders clinched the No. 2 seed in the HL tournament, giving the team a first round bye.
“The bye is huge and gives us a chance to get our legs back under us and rest,” Kouadio said. “There is no team in the league that we are scared of. We’ve played them all before, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
WSU will take the field on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. against the winner between IUPUI and Detroit Mercy. The Raiders drew 2-2 ties against both teams in the regular season. The postseason action can all be found on ESPN+.