ODU Men's soccer delivers striking blow to UAB
On a windy, rainy Friday night, Old Dominion University Men’s Soccer (4-1-1) defeated University of Alabama at Birmingham (3-6-0) in Norfolk three goals to one. Resulting from this victory, ODU now stands in a four-way tie for first place in the C-USA men’s division with UAB falling to last place with two inter-conference losses.
The No. 16 ranked Monarchs controlled the pace from the start, and continued to do so for the entirety of the first half. Recent preparation and practice helped the Monarchs with their striker force communicative and effective. It also bears repeating for the first half, ODU was playing against the rain, and into a moderately strong breeze increasing the impressiveness of their performance. ODU’s first two shots on goal were aimed at top middle shelf, but were stymied by the wind, allowing for UAB’s keeper to advantageously stop them. However, this would not always prove consistent.
In the 7th minute, ODU took an early lead following a beautiful shot from left striker number 21 Niko Klosterhalfen, and the tempo was from then on favored the Monarchs. ODU’s passing and swing game was almost poetic.
In the 19th minute, UAB’s keeper was caught slipping due to the slick, inundated field. It lead to an open net second Monarch goal from number 10 Jessie Miralrio, his first of two. A series of penalties against the Blazers caused tension on the field close to the end of the first half, but also would help Miralrio to score ODU’s third and final goal of the game with an assist by Klosterhalfen.
ODU’s offense was able to control the pace of the second half, stemming purely from their lengthy possession time. In fact, UAB only averaged three shots on goal the entire first half, compared to ODU’s nine. ODU’s keeper Alex Tiesenhausen displayed determination in a tense moment for the Monarchs. Tiesenhausen took a cleat to the chest during a dangerous offside play, but was able to continue playing for the rest of the game. ODU’s defense as a unit allowed for very few good touches from the UAB offensive, resulting in a first half shut out.
The second half saw a rise in aggressiveness and intensity from the UAB offense, as their shots on nearly tripled. UAB finally got on the board with nine minutes left in the game, but it would not be enough to materialize a comeback. UAB had numerous chances to score but ODU’s defense outplayed them. The Monarch’s offensive speed and coordination resulted in a crucial win at home.
ODU takes on VCU at home next week on Wednesday night, September 30th.