Men’s soccer stays undefeated

Dan Barone

Senior captain Jonathan “Jash” Lopuski has given the ‘Cats both leadership and scoring en route to three consecutive wins and an undefeated start to the season at 3-0-1.

Lopuski netted game winners in victories against Providence and LaSalle last week on the road. His performance earned him a share of the Big East Player of the Week honor, as well as a share of the Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Week honor.

In the game against Providence, it appeared as though the Wildcats had an easy task at hand when sophomore forward Felix Vincent scored off of the opening kickoff, just 28 seconds into the game.

The Friars came roaring back, however, and two goals gave them a 2-1 halftime advantage.

The second half was a physical battle, resulting in numerous foul calls on each end. The ‘Cats got back in the game, however, when junior Brett Stassfurth blasted in a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box.

The physical play then turned out to be a disadvantage for the Friars as they committed a foul in the penalty area with just 11 minutes remaining. Lopuski stepped up and completed the comeback and a 3-2 victory by scoring easily on penalty shot. Lopuski called the game, “a game that we made difficult for ourselves, but it was a must-win with a difficult part of our schedule coming up.”

Just three days earlier, the ‘Cats completed a similar second-half comeback and defeated the LaSalle Explorers, 2-1, for their second Soccer Seven victory in as many chances.

Marcelo Rodriguez showed his scoring abilities from last season and tied the game with 35 minutes remaining. Junior Matt Marino then fired a hard shot that was saved with just five minutes to go. Lopuski picked up Marino’s rebound and scored the winner to secure a 2-1 win.

The ‘Cats have done what they needed to do thus far in winning the games that they have been expected to win. The fast start ensures that they will not be playing catch up again this year, as they did en route to their best season in ten years in 2003.

Three games against the top 10, as well as numerous games against the top 25 should test the team that is thought to be the best to play at Villanova in many years.

The Wildcats will travel to take No. 8 Boston College on Saturday. Then they face Rutgers at home on Wednesday at the West Campus soccer complex.