STEUBENVILLE – The Barons got on the board early and never took their foot off of the gas as the Franciscan men's soccer team toughed out a 3-0 win over visiting Mt. Aloysius in an upset of the top team in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, Wednesday afternoon.
Freshman Liam Nagle (Manassas, VA/Seton) got the Barons on the board in the ninth minute with his second goal of the season. Franciscan drew a foul about 30 yards out from the goal and senior Leo James (Rockford, MI/Hackett Catholic Prep) sent the free kick into a scrum in front of the net. Nagle was positioned perfectly inside of the far post and was able to slide the ball in under the goalie's hands for the 1-0 lead.
The narrow advantage would hold for the remainder of the first though the Mounties held a 10-8 advantage in shots for the rest of the half. Franciscan had one of their best scoring chances of the first as freshman Mikey Irvin (Steubenville, OH/Catholic Central) blasted a shot at the cage but it just barely hit the post and ricocheted back into play. Junior Ian Baldau (Las Vegas, NV/St. Michael's) and freshman Nick Miller (Galena, OH/Olentangy) each got a shot off quickly by the Mountie keeper, James Eyre made two quick saves to keep the score 1-0.
The Mounties ended the half with a pair of corner kicks that did not produce a shot and the teams went into halftime with the Barons up 1-0.
At the half, Mount Aloysius made a goalie change and the Barons got a two-goal cushion early in the second period. After the ball was sent into their offensive third by senior Mark Fioramonti (Manassas, VA/Seton) and the new Mountie goalie was pulled out of position, sophomore Sebastian Koehler (Ashburn, VA/Seton Home Study) was in the right place at the right time and played the ball over the goalie back to himself and scored in the upper right-hand corner of an empty net for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Franciscan put the final touches on its three-goal victory as junior Jacob Rigaud (Wintersville, OH/Catholic Central) received a pass from senior Brennan McNamara (Maumee, OH/St. Francis de Sales) in wide open space and nailed the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and the 3-0 lead with 12:21 to play.
With just over five minutes to play, Mt. Aloysius mounted a valiant effort to try and break up the shutout but three-straight shots were blocked by the Baron defense and Franciscan was able to keep the ball away from reaching the net for the rest of the contest.
Sophomore Brian Gaughan (Hopkinton, MA/Hopkinton) played brilliantly in net as he needed just four saves for his fourth solo shutout of the season but was instrumental in getting corner kicks and dangerous crosses cleared out of the box.
Rigaud was named the team's Player of the Match following the contest after playing nearly the full 90 minutes. The junior finished the day with two shots but helped create offense for the Barons and continued to push the ball up through the middle.
"I am just really happy with how we played today," remarked Coach Christian Bobak following the contest. "We played a complete game and it was a really great team win."
Coach Bobak also complimented Baldau's play through the midfield today and for the season as he has been played aggressively but consistently and is creating a lot of plays for the Barons. Koehler was also in the running for Player of the Match, as told by Coach Bobak, as he played well up front for the Barons.
The Mounties held a 20-14 advantage in shots and a slight 7-6 advantage in corner kicks but the Barons were able to make the most of their offensive opportunities.
The Barons will return to action on Saturday as they host D'Youville in a key AMCC match at 3:15 pm. Prior to the start of the game, the Barons will honor is eight graduating players, Hans Baldau, Michael Bobak, Mark Fioramonti, Kyle Hames, Leo James, Jude Ledyard, Brennan McNamara, and Daniel Vander Woude.