The Navy men’s soccer team begins a four-match homestand this weekend when it hosts Air Force on Friday at 7 p.m. from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Midshipmen then play host to College of Charleston on Sunday night at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility starting at 7 p.m.
Navy has dropped its first two matches of the 2018 season coming into the weekend. The Midshipmen lost their season opener at home to Manhattan, 1-0, and then suffered another one-goal setback this past Monday on the road at NJIT, 2-1.
Since head coach Tim O’Donohue took over the Navy men’s soccer program in 2016, the Midshipmen have been in numerous close matches. In the 37 matches Navy has played since O’Donohue was named head coach, 24 have been decided by one goal, while an additional six ended in draws.
In one-goal contests, the Midshipmen hold a record of 4-20-0 overall and their last six results dating back to last season have been one-goal defeats. All but three of the team’s losses last season were by one goal, which included a pair of overtime losses.
Of the seven remaining matches O’Donohue has coached at Navy, the Midshipmen hold a 3-4-0 mark in contests decided by more than one goal. All four defeats in such matches have been by two goals.
Getting on The Board
After being held scoreless in its season-opening match, Navy got on the board in the first half against NJIT. Nicko Westscored the first goal of the season for the Midshipmen in the 26th minutes against the Highlanders.
Navy has had slow starts to the season offensively in the past three seasons as it has been held without a goal in each of the past three season openers. West’s goal 115:07 into the season for Navy is the earliest the Mids have scored over the past three campaigns. Navy’s first goal in the 2016 season came 139:46 into the year. Last season, the Midshipmen were held scoreless over the first two matches and scored their first goal 187:39 into the season.
Pinned in a Corner
Navy has generated strong offensive scoring chances this season resulting in 19 total shots and six shots on target. However, numerous chances in the offensive third have resulted in corner kicks for the Midshipmen. Over the first two matches, Navy has compiled 16 corner kicks compared to nine from its opponents. The Midshipmen’s eight corner kicks per game currently rank ninth in the NCAA and lead the Patriot League in the early portion of the season.
In each of the first two contests, the Mids held the advantage in corner kicks. Navy held a 9-6 edge over Manhattan in the season opener and then had a 7-3 margin at NJIT earlier this week.
All of last season, the Midshipmen had a season-high of seven corner kicks against George Washington, which was just one of four times Navy had more corner kicks than their opponent. Navy held the edge in corners against George Washington (7-5), Duquesne (4-2), Saint Joseph’s (3-2) and Lehigh (6-3).
Despite having success in generating corner kicks this season, the Midshipmen have struggled to generate scoring chances off those opportunities. Of the 16 corner kicks Navy has had this season, just three have resulted in shots and just one of those shots was on goal. All three shots from corners for Navy came last time out against NJIT.
Scouting Air Force
Air Force is making its second trip to the east coast in as many weekends after start the season going 1-1-0 in two games at James Madison in Virginia. The Falcons first suffered a 2-1 loss to Virginia Tech to start the season, but Air Force rebounded with a 1-0 win in overtime against host James Madison. Austin Dewing and Aaron Uribe are the only two goal scorers for the Falcons this season. Uribe recorded the game-winning goal for Air Force in overtime against James Madison.
Over their first two matches, the Falcons have compiled 24 shots with Dewing and Tucker Bone leading the team with five each. Dewing is also tied for the team lead with three shots on goal, where Klint Parker has also posted three shots on target. Of the 11 shots on goal for the Falcons, five different players have notched at least one with four them recording at least two.
In goal, Andrea Seazzu has played all 198:52 for Air Force. He has posted six saves on eight chances with both goals allowed coming against Virginia Tech. Seazzu has a goals against average of 0.91 and a shutout.
Long Time No See
Navy and Air Force are renewing its soccer rivalry for the first time since 2014 and this is the first meeting between the two programs in Annapolis since 2007. In the all-time series between the two service academies, Air Force holds a slight 4-3-3 edge over Navy.
The last meeting during the 2014 season took place in Colorado Springs, where the two sides played to a 1-1 draw. Of the five matches played in Annapolis, Navy holds a record of 3-1-1 and it won the last meeting at home, 1-0. In the 2007 matchup against the Falcons, the Midshipmen scored 6:44 into the contest and held onto the one-goal lead for the remainder of the match.
Scouting College of Charleston
Coming into the weekend, College of Charleston is 1-1-0 after splitting matches at its home Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic. The Cougars suffered a 2-0 setback to start the season against West Virginia but earned a 2-1 victory over Stetson to cap off the weekend. Prior to facing Navy, Charleston takes on UMBC in Baltimore on Friday night.
Jake Nicholson and Tucker Heffron are the two goal scorers for the Cougars this season, where Heffron posted the game-winner against Stetson last time out. Charleston has compiled 16 total shots and six shots on goal over its first two matches.
Treston Kederer started in both matches for the Cougars and has played all 180 minutes this season. Over the first two matches, Kederer has made five stops and recorded a goals against average of 1.50.
Series Against Charleston
Navy and Charleston have only met five times prior to this season and just once since the turn of the century. Sunday’s matchup will also be the first time the Midshipmen play host to the Cougars. With Charleston being the home team during the first five matchups in the series, it has compiled a record of 3-1-1 against the Midshipmen.
The last time the two teams met was in 2016 when the Cougars grabbed a 2-0 victory at home. To start the 2016 season, Charleston scored 21 seconds into the match and added an insurance goal just six minutes later to walk away victorious. The lone victory in the series for Navy came in 1998 when the Mids won 4-2 during their trip to South Carolina.
-Via Navy Athletics