Men’s soccer wins over Bowling Green

By Ben Holda

The Zips beat Bowling Green last Saturday by a margin of 1-0. The win came after limited success at The University of Akron tournament on the 13th and 15th, which ended in a 1-1 result after they lost to Virginia Commonwealth University but pulled out a double overtime win against San Diego  State University. This was also the first game for them that was tallied for the Mid-American Conference, putting them at 1-0-0. Their total for the whole season is 5-2-0.


The game started at 1 p.m. on Saturday after 15 hours of consecutive rainfall. The field by that time was a marsh and the players had to deal with the myriad of variables that come into play during a soaking wet game. The players had to adapt to the weight of the water on their clothing as well as the unwieldy nature of the water-filmed ball. On top of that, the ball has a tendency to skip along the puddles on the field when kicked, necessitating some adaption when a pass is received or when the goalie lunges at a shot.

Aodhan Quinn (#10) and Saad Abdul-Salaam (#3) were both out for the entirety of the game, due to injuries. This blunted the offensive edge of the team significantly, as Abdul-Salaam’s foot skills and Aodhan Quinn’s vision and quick play are often instrumental to goal scoring. On the bright side, defensive megalith Bryan Gallego (#4) took the field after being out of commission with a groin injury. After defensive blunders against San Diego State, it was definitely seen as a relief.

The rain dissipated as the game kicked off. The Zips’ defensive structure looked strong early on, with solid tackles and heavy pressure warding off attacks. However, Bowling Green had a shot early on, after the defense encountered a problem with execution. The Bowling Green attackers were stopped and squared up, but nobody would actually take the ball from them. Even worse, two defenders would go at a man, but a lack of communication would cause both of them to fall away from the target. This problem persisted throughout the match.

This flaw in the defense was never fully exploited due to the laudable efforts of the midfielders and forwards. Reinaldo Brenes (#7) and Eric Stevenson (#14), both forwards, and Victor Souto (#8), a midfielder, had highly productive games. Their smart, possessive play and constant movement were vital to keeping BGSU entrenched in their back third.

Brenes took five shots, three of which were on goal, during the first half alone. It also led to the only goal of the match. Stevenson laid a through ball to Brenes, splitting the back two defenders. Brenes quickly gained control of the ball and slipped it past the goalie and into the back right corner, bringing the score to 1-0. This happened in the 43rd minute.

Louis Cross (#15) was injured in the ensuing celebration, as the team slid on their stomachs across the pitch toward the AK Rowdies, and had to be helped off the field. He was replaced with Brett Gravatt (#21), who played the rest of the game.

As the second half started, the overcast clouds rolled off, the sun was shining strong and the day became absolutely perfect for a soccer match. The field also started to dry.

The second half was characterized by missed opportunities, defensive sloth from the Zips and by total entrenchment from the Bowling Green team. The ball spent most of the time being passed from one side of the field to the other through the Zips’ back four men. They were biding their time until they could find a viable through ball to one of the midfielders, which was no easy task in the veritable sea of Bowling Green players. Now and again, the Zips would be able to work it through the tight spaces for a couple very excellent opportunities on goal. None of these bore a goal, but a quick series of blocked shots on goal from Stevenson and Adam Najem (#6) around the 70th minute were enough to get all in attendance on their feet.

The game continued on in this fashion until regulation time went out and Bowling Green left the stadium, defeated and visibly agitated.