Following last week’s double loss at home in the Brother’s Pizza Blue Jay/Red Devil Classic, the Elizabethtown College men’s soccer team traveled to Lancaster last Friday to take on the No. 25 Franklin & Marshall College Diplomats in the annual Smith-Herr Boot game. The Blue Jays, having lost the Boot game the past two years, were looking to bring the Smith-Herr Boot back to Etown’s Jay Walk, and they succeeded in doing so unconventionally.
The Blue Jays held their third nationally-ranked opponent so far this season to a 0-0 (2OT) draw and came home with the Smith-Herr Boot. The guidelines of the Smith-Herr Boot game stipulate that if a tie occurs, the Boot is to be awarded to the away team. Etown’s all-time record against F&M is now 26-10-4.
Sophomore goalkeeper Rodrigo Barrera, had another stellar game. He faced 17 shots and managed seven saves to keep the Blue Jays in the game. Barrera’s three games in net this season were against all three nationally-ranked opponents, and in those games, he faced 72 shots and racked up 28 saves. He gave up only three goals in his three starts this season, and his save percentage sits at .903.
The Diplomats outshot the Blue Jays 17-8 and had a whopping 17 corner kick opportunities to Etown’s one. Senior defender Kyle Volk and junior midfielder Phil Spector had the Blue Jays’ only two shots on goal in the game. Volk’s headed shot came off of a corner in the 89th minute and struck the crossbar, denying the Blue Jays a go-ahead goal very late in regulation.
Diplomats senior forward and team goal-leader Ben Beaver had three shots on goal, with four total shots, but he did not manage to put the ball in the back of the net. The other four shots on goal for F&M came from four different players, but they were unable to get on the score sheet. The Diplomats were able to hold their opponents scoreless for the fifth straight game to start their 2013 season, despite their inability to continue their early-season winning streak. Their record after the game was 4-0-1.
Etown has done well in tough match-ups early in the season. In their three meetings with nationally-ranked opponents, the Blue Jays have drawn two games and lost the other by one goal. The Blue Jays have not met more than two nationally-ranked teams in a single season in at least five years, and they have already played three in five games so far this season. They will meet a fourth on Oct. 12 when they take on Messiah College, who is currently ranked first in the nation.
The Blue Jays’ next game takes place at Misericordia University (4-1) in Dallas, Pa. on Saturday, Sept. 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.