Old Dominion Soccer Team Powers Past Jacksonville with 4-0 Victory
Old Dominion Soccer played host to the 40th annual STIHL classic that began Friday night. The Monarchs are currently the No. 22 team in the nation and took on the Jacksonville Dolphins to open the Classic. ODU (3-1-0) earned a decisive 4-0 victory against the Dolphins (2-1-1) putting up three goals in the second half.
The Monarchs got on the board early. Senior forward Ivan Militar got a through ball from Ryan Condotta and put it away into the lower right corner on a breakaway. But Condotta was not done making his mark on this match.
“You always want to get off a good start offensively. Ivan’s goal was pretty huge. It gave us some great momentum early on,” Condotta said.
Neither team generated very many chances in the first half. Even with seven shots apiece for both teams, after taking the lead the Monarchs struggled in getting quality chances at goal.
“I thought in the first half we were a little tentative. We did not have the tempo that I wanted. We let them dictate the pace of the game a little too much. We were very fortunate to go into the half up 1-0,” said Head Coach Alan Dawson.
Defensively, ODU struggled to control the ball and had some miscommunications between the defensive backs.
“We just have to tighten up in the back. We definitely had some communication issues towards the end of the half. It’s nothing we can’t fix and it’s something we can build on,” Condotta said.
Goalkeeper Alex Tiesenhausen had a stellar game, racking up eight saves to preserve the clean sheet. With two minutes left in the first half Tiesenhausen made an acrobatic save on a breakaway shot from Jacksonville forward Ejiroghene Mrabure. The save sent the home crowd into a frenzy and signaled a momentum shift for the Monarchs.
“He was terrific. He was our most valuable player tonight. They had some opportunities, they put them on frame and he made some wonderful saves,” Dawson said.
Despite the 1-0 lead the two teams remained deadlocked until 15 minutes into the second half. After playing the ball into the box, Condotta was fouled and given a penalty kick. He made the most of another opportunity, burying the penalty in the back of the net.
“We needed another goal to put them away, kind of kill their spirits. That really got us going and it made for a nice night offensively,” Condotta said.
Now up two the Dolphin defense was depleted as the Old Dominion offense began to click.
“We responded very well in the second half. The second goal really broke their back a little bit,” said Dawson
Offensively the Monarchs took over. Ten minutes after adding to their lead they struck again. Defenseman Sebastian Jolly was able to find midfielder Jesse Miralrio with a long ball over top of the defense. Miralrio caught the ball in stride and chipped the ball right over the goalkeeper.
All but two minutes later ODU got on the board again. Midfielder Niko Klosterhalfen fired a long ball from the left flank that found the right corner of the net to top off the best half of the season.
At the end of the game however, Dawson was quick to praise his goalkeeper who put up four more saves in the second half.
“We felt like he had to do too much for us tonight, but when he was called upon he really came through for us,” Dawson said.
The Monarchs will face Hartford on Sunday for the STIHL classic title.
“Hartford will be a very strong team, they are the top team in their conference and they’ll be coming down here with a chip on their shoulder being ranked early in the year,” said Dawson.