Men’s Soccer: Dons Trounce Toreros, Can’t Capitalize Against LMU

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Andrew Noerr
Staff Writer

USF fought both the San Diego Toreros and the Loyola Marymount Lions this past weekend, and followed up a commanding 2-0 road win in San Diego with a disappointing 3-1 home loss to LMU.

The Dons created scoring chance after scoring chance on Sunday, but couldn’t secure a win against LMU’s persevering defense. The Lions are now 4-4-3 this season, while the Dons fell to 6-3-1.

In the first half, opportunities presented themselves on offense for USF, but they couldn’t take advantage. USF outshot LMU 8-7 in the first half, but the Lions scored the only goal of the period when senior defenseman Jack McCracken shot a pass from the right side to junior forward Grant Sampson, who headed the ball off the cross bar past USF senior goalkeeper Chase Hauser for a goal. It came in the 21st minute, and LMU led 1-0 at halftime.

Before USF finally got on the board, LMU scored a second goal when redshirt senior defender Craig Nitti scored on a free kick that he sent into the top-right corner of the net in the 49th minute.

USF finally took advantage of its scoring chances when freshman forward Bryce Kaminski scored his first collegiate goal in the 59th minute. He received a free kick from sophomore midfielder Davi Ramos and dove to head the ball into the left side of the net and get USF on the board.

Unfortunately for the Dons, that would be their only goal of the day, despite outshooting LMU 16-8 in the second half. LMU redshirt junior goalkeeper Vince Paldino was astonishing in front of the net, making numerous highlight-reel-worthy saves throughout the day.

“[Paldino] was the difference,” head coach Eddie Soto said. “We obviously were in control of the game and created many, many chances. We sent many shots his way, and he was there to deny them. You tip your hat to that kid, he had a heck of a game.”

LMU scored their last goal on a breakaway in the last minute of the match, when sophomore midfielder Adrien Perez scored an empty net goal to seal the deal.

On Friday, USF overcame a shaky start and high Southern California temperatures in their victory over San Diego.

Following a scoreless first half, the Dons established themselves as the aggressors in the second period. Senior midfielder and team captain Danny Kirkland struck first in the 56th minute, sending a well-placed shot into the goal off of a header from senior defender David Romney. Later, in the 73rd minute, junior defender Joshua Smith sent a header past Toreros goalkeeper Thomas Olsen to give the Dons a two-goal lead they would not relinquish.

Next, USF will play on the road against Santa Clara on Sunday, Oct. 12. The Dons’ next home game will be on Friday, Oct. 17 versus Portland.

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