Herd soccer pitches another shutout

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:08 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ)The 3rd-ranked Marshall men’s soccer team kept its shutout streak alive with a 1-0 victory over the Wright State Raiders, Tuesday night at Hoops Family Field. It was the seventh-straight clean sheet for the Herd and now 733 minutes and 58 seconds since last conceding a goal, both team records.

Freshman Agustin Iusem made his collegiate debut and scored his first career goal to help give Marshall the victory.

The Thundering Herd improved to 9-1-3 overall while the Raiders fell to 4-8-1.

“I thought it was a great performance,” Herd head coach Chris Grassie said. “Obviously we were missing four guys due to (yellow card accumulation) who usually play big minutes for us. It was a chance for some of the new guys to step up and play and they did that.

“It was a different game because it was a feeling out of each other. We had to establish those relationships and that rhythm with the new guys in there, and we did that. It was different because of the new relationships, new positions and new skill sets that people bring so it was exciting. It was a great testament to our future and a great testament to how deep the squad is.”

The Herd was without key starters in graduate student Pedro Dolabella, redshirt junior Milo Yosef, junior Max Schneider and sophomore Gabriel Alves due to yellow card accumulations. All four players had to miss just one match and will return to the lineup. Despite missing a fair amount of star power, Marshall still dominated for most of the match as Wright State attempted to attack, but just could not break through the Herd’s defense. Getting the starts in their places were senior Ibrahima Diop, redshirt sophomore Adam Lubell, and freshmen Mohammed Seidu and Paulo Lino.

Marshall dominated possession in the first half 74-percent to 26-percent. The Herd outshot the Raiders 7-3 and 4-1 on goal. Senior Jan-Erik Leinhos had the first attempt on goal in the 12th minute that was saved by Sebastian Jimenez, the Raiders’ keeper. Wright State then took its first shot of the night in the 15th minute that was stopped by senior Oliver Semmle.

The Herd’s other shots on target in the first half were in the 25th minute from junior Joao Souza, the 27th minute from senior Vitor Dias and the finally in the 40th minute by Lino. All were stopped by Jimenez.

The teams went in at the half knotted at 0-0.

Marshall kept up the pressure in the second half and still maintained possession for most of the match, finishing at 73-percent to just 27-percent for Wright State. The Herd had seven more shots in the second half with two on goal. The Raiders managed just two shots with one on goal, despite turning up the pressure. The Herd’s defense continued to hustle after long passes and cutoff opportunities. Center backs Nathan Dossantos and Collin Mocyunas were key on the back line.

In the 52nd minute, Souza fired a bending shot from just outside the 18-yard box that just smacked off the crossbar. In the 54th minute, Seidu, who played a career-high 76 minutes, just missed high on a header attempt off a corner kick.

Seidu had another chance off a corner in the 71st minute that was stopped by Jimenez. Less than one minute later, Wright State charged down the field and were given a free kick attempt from about 25 yards out after a foul called against Dossantos. Harvey Slade fired a shot at the goal but Semmle was there for his second save of the night.

Finally, in the 78th minute, Leinhos used some great dribbling skills to get away from a defender to the far side of the 18-yard box. Leinhos then sent a centering pass into the 6-yard box that Isuem knocked in for the goal, just 10 minutes and 32 seconds after checking into the match for his first collegiate action. He finished the night with 22 minutes played and of course the game-winner. Leinhos tallied his third assist of the season and ninth of his career.

With the Herd up 1-0, Wright State attempted to press more to try and find the equalizer. However, Marshall’s defense continued to be up to the challenge even as the Raiders got a lot more physical as time wore on. Over the final 12 minutes of the contest, Wright State was called for two fouls and issued four yellow cards. The Raiders managed just one last shot in the 89th minute that was off target.

Semmle recorded his seventh clean sheet of the season and 18th of his career. His goals against average has now improved to 0.79 and he has 34 saves for the year.

Coach Grassie went to his bench often in the match as only four players were on the pitch for all 90 minutes in Semmle, Dossantos, Mocyunas and senior Vinicius Fernandes. Along with Iusem, freshman Alex Bamford saw his first collegiate action and logged seven minutes. Also coming in off the bench were senior Noah Raphael, redshirt junior Ryan Sirk, junior Alex Adjetey and redshirt sophomore Jacob Adams.

The Herd has three matches remaining in the regular season, and all in Conference USA play. Marshall travels to Charlotte on Saturday, Oct. 23, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. The Herd then returns to Hoops Family Field for Senior Day on Oct. 30 against South Carolina. The regular season concludes on the road at No. 17 FIU on Nov. 5.

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