Men’s Soccer | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian
On Saturday afternoon, the Wright State University men’s soccer team took the field for senior night against Purdue Fort Wayne.
Before the match
Entering the match, WSU held a 3-0-2 record in Horizon League play, securing first place in HL standings. The Raiders took down Robert Morris University last weekend to take sole possession of first place. The Mastodons entered the match in last place in the HL standings with an 0-2-2 conference record.
Before the Saturday game started, WSU recognized and celebrated the senior athletes in front of the crowd.
“It was a perfect night for senior night and we got the results,” Head Coach Jake Slemker said. “I think the guys were pretty happy.”
WSU started the match aggressively on the defensive side of the ball. PFW was unable to move the ball efficiently, despite controlling possession most in the first half.
The scoring started in minute 23, when Nico Likulia rebounded Joe Kouadio’s missed shot attempt, crossing to Reece Allbaugh to bury the first goal. Allbaugh’s goal was a personal third goal in the last two games.
“Reece is a great, phenomenal player,” Slemker mentioned. “We knew the goals would start coming.”
The Raider team added to its tally in minute 40 in a very similar sequence. After having a shot blocked, Cole Werthmuller regained possession and found Sandro Branquinho open in front of the goal. Branquinho’s first goal of the season propelled WSU to a 2-0 first half lead.
During the second half, the Mastodons began to move the ball with more purpose and produced multiple attacks on WSU. In minute 57, PFW cut the lead in half with a goal of its own.
The referees called 37 total fouls and issued 10 yellow cards on both sides. WSU has been physical on the ball and has relied on strong offensive transitions.
“The guys have been very tough lately,” Slemker added. “I think we committed too many fouls, but we defended well.”
The Raiders’ solid defense led to a quiet day in the box for senior goalkeeper Sebastion Jimenez, who was only called to make three saves as WSU maintained control and secured a 2-1 victory.
After Saturday’s victory, WSU still remains on top of the HL standings with a few weeks remaining in regular season play. Cleveland State sits in second behind WSU, only trailing by one conference point. The Raiders have five games remaining in the regular season, three of which are on the road.
Down the stretch, WSU will have two big matchups against Marshall and Cleveland State. The team will hit the road this upcoming week, looking to remain undefeated in conference play.
The Raiders now travel to Oakland on Saturday, Oct. 15.
“We have a week to train and prepare for a team in Oakland that is always very tough to play,” Slemker said.
The match will begin at one p.m. ESPN+ will stream the action.