BETHANY, W. Va. – The Baron offense exploded for seven goals, including four in the first half to lead the Franciscan men's soccer team to a 7-5 win over Muskingum to close out the 2017 Fuzzy Williams Memorial Tournament, Sunday afternoon.
The Barons wasted little time little time to get on the board as junior keeper John Bolster made a dynamic save on a close hard shot and got the Baron offense in motion. Though a foul on the Barons turned the ball over, two straight from Muskingum at midfield gave FUS back possession. Franciscan took back over at midfield and pushed the ball towards the Muskie goal. Freshman JP Bobak took a hard shot at goal but the Muskie keeper was able to deflect the ball back into play. Senior Leo Herrmann collected the ball and fed it right back to Bobak who slid it under the goalie into the back right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead just under 10 minutes into action.
Franciscan did not take the foot off the gas and continued to work the ball towards the Muskingum goal. Just a minute after Bobak's goal, the Barons looked to put one more up quickly but were called back as they were offsides. Franciscan quickly regrouped and got the possession back and Herrmann took a shot that went just wide of the far post. The Barons continued to control the tempo of the game and were awarded a corner kick just over four minutes later. Bobak placed the ball perfectly into the box and junior Mark Fioramonti got a shot off but the Muskie goal deflected the ball back into play, but once again right at a Baron. This time sophomore Ian Baldau was in the perfect position to chip the ball over the goalie and push the Baron lead to 2-0 19:24 into play. The goal was Baldau's first of the season and second in his career as a Baron.
Baldau has been tenacious in the midfield for the Barons this season and was named Franciscan's Man of the Match for once being a difference maker in the middle of the field. "I am feeling a lot more confidence this season, especially having a year under my belt," remarked Baldau following the match. "Everyone is really bringing me up and helping me out. It is nice to play with everyone again. I am little more aggressive this year. Moving from the wing into the middle has allowed me to play a lot more physical."
Franciscan pushed its lead to 4-0 with two quick goals with just under 10 minutes to play in the first. After a foul on Muskingum, the Barons pushed the ball into the box and Bobak sent a quick feed to Herrmann and the pass pulled the goalie out of position for an easy over the top goal for Herrmann, his fourth of the season. Herrmann returned the favor a minute later as he took a pass from freshman Sebastian Koehler and feed Bobak from across the box for his second goal of the game to give FUS a 4-0 lead with 9:22 to play.
Franciscan and Muskingum traded shots in the final minute of the half but the score remained the same, 4-0 in favor of the Barons at the break.
"I am really happy with our first half today," remarked head coach Christian Bobak following the game. "We settled in and found their weakest spot. I think we attacked and finished well. The second half was a little shaky but we got to try some news guys at different places but overall we played well and it was a real team win."
The Barons picked right up where they left off in the first and senior Cuyler Ledyard took a cross from junior John Monsour and the ball over the goalie for his first goal of the season and gave the Barons a 5-0 lead in the 56th minute.
The shutout would come to an end, however, as the Muskies scored three-straight goals over the next 13 minutes to cut the Baron lead down to 5-3.
With 10 minutes to play, Franciscan halted the Muskingum run as freshman Gustavo Gutierrez collected the ball from about 30 yards out and dribbled around three defenders before drilling the ball into the upper 90 and giving FUS the 6-3 lead with 8:30 to play. Muskingum answered as Drew Wise put a cross into the box which Johnny Aisthrope headed under a diving Bolster.
Herrmann put the final touches on the Barons' goal scoring as he made his third penalty kick in as many tries this year with exactly five minutes to play.
Muskingum scored in the final 40 seconds of the game but the Barons did not let it spoil the win and celebration of their team chaplain's, Br. Nate Meckey, birthday postgame.
In his first start of the season, Bolster earned the win in net tying his career-high with five saves and earned his first career win.
"It was his first game of the season and had some jitters," remarked Coach Bobak. "Everyone knows he is one of our leaders and how his work ethic is, I know he is going to bounce back. I thought he did really well today."
Franciscan held the 24-20 advantage in shots while Muskingum had the slim 8-7 edge in corner kicks.
Franciscan looks to carry this momentum into the Barons' road contest against Westminster (Pa.) on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.