This past Friday, the men’s soccer team opened its season with a game at home against the Hokies of Virginia Tech. The game represented a tough test for the Lions, with their opponents being ranked No. 16 in the nation at the start of the season. It was also a great opportunity for this LMU squad to test its chops against one of the nation’s premier college soccer teams early on.
Unfortunately, the Lions fell at home in a close match that finished 2-1 in favor of the visitors. Despite the result, the men showed fight and resolve in face of a much-favored opponent. Virginia Tech took the lead early, but the Lions did not concede defeat so easily.
Less than a minute of play in, the Hokies found an opening goal provided by junior defender Jakob Bluemler. Many would have expected for this to be the first goal of many by the visitors, but the Lions responded very positively to conceding so early.
LMU remained strong and organized in the back, starving Virginia Tech of many opportunities to increase their lead. In the 68th minute of play, the Lions' efforts were rewarded with an equalizer scored by sophomore forward Jack Sauls. The goal represented a strong start for the striker as the Lions hope he will continue to come up with big goals like this throughout the remainder of the season.
Even with the strong effort displayed, the Hokies eventually found a winning goal through junior midfielder Kristo Strickler. The 89th minute-winner broke Lion hearts as they were on the cusp of an impressive draw with a ranked opponent.
Looking beyond the result of this individual match, the men can take this performance as a positive indication of things to come. If this team can consistently play like they did Friday night, they may just defy expectations this season.