Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Colleges: Glenn, Lions snap streak with big win

SAINT LEO – Saint Leo men’s soccer coach Joel Harrison tells his players to read the game, and to make decisions based on what their opponents is doing defensively against them.

On Tuesday night, Thomas University gave the Lions' midfield time and space, and the Lions took complete advantage, earning a 4-1 victory at University Field that snapped a five-game losing streak.

Jonathan Glenn scored twice for the Lions (4-6-0), ending a personal run of five games without a goal, including giving the Lions the lead in the fourth minute. Glenn slipped in behind the Night Hawks defense, rounding the advancing goalkeeper before coolly finishing into the open net.

“It was a big monkey off my shoulders,” Glenn said with a smile. “I was really going out for that, try to get it early to take the pressure of the whole team, and it came early so that was a great start.”

It didn’t get any better for the Night Hawks (4-5-0), who sat back and allowed the Lions to move the ball freely through the midfield. While trying to keep itself compact defensively, Thomas ended up giving the Lions freedom to roam down the flanks, and that ended up leading to Glenn’s second goal in the 24th minute.

After play was switched from the center to advancing left back Michael Panter, he hit an angled cross into the penalty area from 35 yards which found Glenn, whose powerful header gave Thomas goalkeeper Jan Feldman little chance. Harrison said he was glad not just that Glenn had found his way back onto the scoresheet, but the manner in which he had scored.

“They were good goals too, the first one we got him in behind, the second a nice service from Michael Panter,” Harrison said. “They were good runs, good finishes.”

The Lions added a third goal eight minutes later, Bruce Cutler getting a little fortunate as his shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected off a defender, looped over Feldman’s head and tucked in just under the crossbar. Cutler was excellent throughout, making good decisions with his distribution from midfield all game as the Lions controlled the bulk of possession in the first half.

That trend continued for the first 25 minutes of the second half as the Lions took the opportunity to play most of their bench, and Odyss Economides' run down the left created their fourth goal of the night as Freddy Menor finished the chance on the right side of the penalty area in the 61st minute.

After that, the game began to get a little sloppy, and a moment of poor play by the Lions in their backline led to the Night Hawks goal in the 77th minute, Alex Fleming finishing Gary Watkins cross from the right after a bad giveaway in the Lions half. But that was the only blemish on the performance for the Lions, who will likely get a far tougher test against No.14 Lynn on Saturday night.

At least for Tuesday, the victory was one to savor for the Lions.

“It was so frustrating,” Glenn said of the now-over five-game streak. “We have been playing so well, dominating teams, and we just couldn’t find a way to win, so this is a big, big weight off our shoulders.”

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