On Wednesday, the Lynx men’s soccer team took to the field in their season and home opener against Region 24 rival Southwestern Illinois College. SWIC defeated the Lynx in the post-season last year and this was a game that head coach Ben Massena’s returning players wanted revenge. This time around it was all Lynx as the purple and white shut out SWIC 4-0.
The Lynx came out strong almost scoring in the opening two minutes but were kept of the score board until the 9th minute when Jose Castillo (Moline, IL) and Cristian Castillo (Moline, IL) stepped up to a free kick 25 yards out. Jose stepped on the ball and Cristian curled it over the wall for the first goal of the season and put the Lynx ahead 1-0. Despite having several more quality chances at goal, the Lynx would not get another goal until the 22nd mark when Jose Cruz (Moline, IL) hit a 40 yard diagonal ball to Adrian Roman (Waukegan, IL) who took the ball in stride and created a one-on-one breakaway with SWIC’s goal keeper. Roman would smoothly roll the ball into the net to make the score 2-0 heading into intermission.
Massena said, “At half we talked about not giving up cheap set pieces, counter-attack chances, or loss of possession in our defensive half. We also talked about changing the tempo to pull open spaces in behind SWIC. I thought we did a decent job adjusting.”
The second half would all be Lynx with two more goals, the first coming from Dennis Freeman (Champaign, IL), assisted by Roman, and the last coming from Roman himself after Cruz hit a blast that bounced off the crossbar directly to Roman who volleyed it past the goalie. Massena gave his player of the game to the freshman Roman, who was outstanding the entire day. “I was happy to see Adrian get off to such a great start to his college career”, said Massena. “He’s really going to help us moving forward.”
Massena went on to add, “I was pleased with the result but think we can do better in the offense third of the field. We had 22 shots and 11 on goal but only were able to score four goals. This is something we will focus on and try to get the guys to calm down and focus on the end product. It’s the start of the season and we have a lot to work on but overall I’m very happy with what I saw today on the field and extremely happy with our back four and goalie, Pierson Fleming (Springfield, IL) for getting the clean sheet.”
The Lynx will be back in action on September 6 at home against ICC at 4:00pm.