STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—Franciscan men's soccer seniors left a mark on their final game as Barons and wrapped up the season with a 2-1 defeat to La Roche College.
On the offensive side of the field, senior midfielder Jesse Saltarelli was effective in attacking down the left flank and setting up his teammates. He also unleashed 2 shots that were just wide of the net.
"Jesse's been leading us in shots all year and he had some great runs," head coach Ward Rogers. "He was able to find some of our guys off his runs which created some shots on goal."
"Brian has to get consideration for all-conference as a defender," Rogers said.
The Baron defense finally appeared to find its form over the last few games, in what had been a season full of position changes up and down the back line. With freshman Dominic Vanderwoude at right back, Bobak at left back, and Herrmann and sophomore Michael Ostrich in the middle, La Roche had trouble creating any convincing chances in the run of play.
Franciscan's strong defensive play continued from the first half into the second half, but it was a mistake that gifted La Roche the lead. An attempted pass toward freshman goalkeeper Thomas Dosedel from Vanderwoude was held up by the gusting wind and stolen by La Roche's forward Freddie Jones. Dosedel was out of position as Jones shot into the open net.
"After that first goal nobody put their head down and we got three really good opportunities right after that," said Rogers."We weren't trying to force the ball through the middle. We were able to find Leo Herrmann in some dangerous areas. Quite frankly we could have had two or three goals."
But a second goal to La Roche came with less than 20 minutes left in regulation.
The Barons responded almost instantly as freshman forward Leo Herrmann brought Franciscan back into the game using his combination of speed and strength to beat his defender on a long dribbling run into the La Roche box. He poked the ball past the keeper to make the score 2-1 with less than 15 minutes to go.
It was too little too late as the Barons were only able to mount one more attack. La Roche ate up the clock playing keep-away in the corner on the Barons' side of the field effectively icing the game.
The game brought an end to the college careers of the five seniors Herrmann, Saltarelli, Bobak, Mike D'Amico, and Chris McNamara who, Rogers said, will definitely be missed by their teammates.
"When you get a group of guys who are as close as this team is," Rogers said, "And you're about to lose five seniors, you just want to play more soccer and stay together as a team."
Although it was a disappointing season for the Barons, they became more consistent, especially at the back as the season came to an end. Throughout the final four conference games, they gave up an average of just over 2 goals per game as opposed to the 4 goals allowed average of the previous five.
"The team never stopped training hard," Rogers said. "They never doubted each other."