The Webster University men’s soccer team remained undefeated in conference play after their game against Fontbonne University, scoring a victory in the “Big Bend rivalry.”
Webster got off to a fast start. A goal by sophomore forward Nermin Hajrizi in the second minute of the game gave the Gorloks an early 1-0 lead. In the seventy-second minute, freshman forward Zach Gyuricza raised the lead to 2-0 with his fourth goal of the season.
The Griffins scored goals in the seventy-fourth and the eighty-fourth minute to tie the game 2-2.
After one complete overtime, the score remained 2-2 when an offsides call on freshman Corey Redington caused his goal to not count.
With 11 seconds left in the second overtime, Redington scored his third goal of the season, defeating Fontbonne 3-2.
“I was pumped up,” said Mike Siener, Webster University men’s soccer head coach. “I showed some emotion.”
Siener has been a part of the rivalry between Webster and Fontbonne as both a coach and a player. He said that the intensity has died down from its height in the mid ‘90s and 2000s, but has never lost its importance.
“Whenever you play them, you know Fontbonne is always going to bring their best. They always want to beat Webster,” Siener said. “When you play them, no matter what their records are, both teams want to win.”
Junior goalkeeper Zach Horn has experienced the rivalry for three years and said he doesn’t believe winning has become any less satisfying.
“It’s always fun to come out with a win there,” Horn said. “You can hold that one over them. It’s fun trying to keep the winning tradition going.”
The regular season continues
Coming into the season after losing 15 seniors to graduation, the Gorloks experienced a rough start, going 1-7-1 in their nonconference schedule.
“I knew it was going to be difficult at the start,” Siener said. “We graduated a lot of seniors. I knew we were going to have some growing pains. We had them.”
Senior defenseman Daniel Tovar said he believed one reason for the slow start was due to the fact that it was a rebuilding year.
“It’s been a tough season so far, but this has also been a year of rebuilding, so not a lot was expected to come together immediately,” Tovar said.
Since conference play has hit, the Gorloks are 3-0-1 and are currently in third place in the SLIAC conference.
“Some of the nonconference teams we played are probably a notch, a little bit better than the conference opponents we have,” Siener said. “Playing those teams … are suppose to get you ready for conference play.”
Freshmen have early success
After the loss of 15 seniors to graduation, a bigger role was given to younger players to step in and replace them, a prominence unusual for freshmen.
“A lot of them have had a great opportunity to step in and play some big roles,” Siener said. “They have all handled it pretty well.”
Webster’s two top scorers are freshmen. Gyuricza leads the team with 12 points and Redington is tied for second with six points.
Siener said Gyuricza’s speed has helped him be so successful.
“He has speed that you don’t see a lot of times at our level,” Siener said.
Gyuricza’s finishing ability also impressed Siener, as he has scored five goals this season.
“If he keeps working hard and continues to develop, he could have a great career here,” Siener said.
Siener said he believes his team will continue to play hard going on through the season, and the next two weeks will determine how successful the team is going into tournament play.
“Every team’s goal is to make the conference tournament and then win the conference tournament and go to the national tournament,” Siener said. “That’s what we play for.”
The Gorloks are currently 4-7-2 on the season and will play their next game against Westminster College, who holds first place in the conference (10-2, 4-0).