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Men’s Soccer Suffers First Setback to No. 8 Washington & Lee

Ruben Niamien runs in action earlier this season.

ASHLAND, Va. – The Randolph-Macon men's soccer team suffered its first setback of the season to No. 8 Washington & Lee, 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. The game was marked by a first half of defensive play which was then followed by a second half of intense offense by both teams.

Randolph-Macon held the 5-4 shot advantage in the first half. R-MC also had the only shot on goal of the half, one of a few opportunities that could have landed in for the Yellow Jackets, but fell away from the goal.  Both teams played physically in half one with W&L tallying nine fouls while R-MC chalked up eight.

The second half was much different. Six minutes into the second frame, Washington & Lee found the net on a second chance shot that made it in past the far post. In the 60th minute, the Generals found a goal again off a header from the corner.

But the Yellow Jackets came storming back. Just three minutes after W&L's second goal, R-MC found its first off the foot of freshman Ruben Niamien (Fredericksburg, Va. / Chancellor) after a long throw-in from senior Jake Tyler (Colonial Heights, VA / Colonial Heights). Tyler got the assist along with senior Bryan Lutz (Fairfax, Va. / W.T. Woodson) after Lutz headed the ball down for Niamien to slide it into the back of the net.

R-MC continued its march back  into the game in the 80th minute as another long throw-in got headed into the goal by a W&L defender who attempted to clear the ball out. But the tie did not hold long as the Generals found the game winner just about 90 seconds later as a shot from outside the box squeezed into the goal. Both teams had seven shots in the second half, with W&L holding the 4-2 save advantage.

Besides his one assist, Lutz also tried a shot in the match. R-MC's shot leader was senior Jacob McHugh (Aberdeen, Md. / West Nottingham Academy) with two shots attempted. Sophomore Josh Beeker (Bel Air, Md. / Bel Air), junior Brad Robertson (Mechanicsville, Va. / Atlee), sophomore Anthony Astruc (Glen Allen, Va. / Benedictine) and AJ Casarez (Virginia Beach, Va. / Landstown) each had one shot overall on the match, all of them falling on goal. Sophomore Christian Torres (Stafford, Va. / C.D. Hylton), sophomore Paul Duffy (Salem, Va. / Salem) and Andrew Griggs (Galloway, N.J. / Absegami) tried a shot as well, but theirs fell away from goal.

Junior goalkeeper Brian Breslin (Fairfax, Va. / W.T. Woodson) had two saves in five shots taken against him.

R-MC's bench unit had excellent minutes. Besides the shots for Robertson and Casarez and the goal for Niamien, freshman Dylan Ogletree (La Plata, Md. / La Plata), sophomore Matt Whelan (Elkridge, Md. / Mount St. Joseph), sophomore Enrique Dubon (Woodbridge, Va. / C.D. Hylton) and freshman Paul McLaughlin (Chapel Hill, N.C. / Chapel Hill) all spelled the starting unit, giving the team much needed energy while in the game.

The Yellow Jackets are now 7-1 on the season. Randolph-Macon next takes on Randolph next Saturday at 3:30 as part of family weekend festivities.