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Archers See Lead Slip Away in Loss to East Central

October 01, 2012

Zane Smugala  
Zane Smugala scored one of the two STLCC
goals in a 3-2 loss to East Central College
Saturday.

An early two-goal lead, supplied in part by an unlikely offensive source, was not enough for an STLCC men’s soccer victory Saturday. East Central College rallied with three goals in the second half to overcome a 2-0 deficit and claim a 3-2 win.

It was the first time this year the Archers have lost a game in which they held a two-goal advantage at halftime.

The loss was a rare hiccup in what has been a steady progress for the squad this fall.

“Normally, we’ve been ‘Two steps forward, one step back’ this year,” head coach Dan O’Keefe said. “Today, it was ‘One step forward, two steps back.”

The Archers grabbed a hold on the game with first-half goals from freshman forward Zane Smugala (Vianney) and sophomore midfielder Joe Iannazzone (Eureka). From there, however, things turned sour. East Central, employing a very physical style of play in the second half, managed to unnerve STLCC for the majority of the period.

Freshman Andrew Branca (St. Mary’s) collected his fifth red card of the season in that second half, leaving him ineligible for Tuesday’s home game against Lewis and Clark Community College. That, combined with the loss of freshman midfielder Edin Husejinovic (Mehlville) to a torn meniscus in the team’s 3-1 loss to Lincoln Land Sept. 22, has forced a number of reserves to take on additional playing time in key situations.

“The people filling in, I expect them to come in and not have it drop the level of play too much,” O’Keefe said. “(Freshman forward) Richard Brown has come in and worked his butt off. He’s getting better each game, and that’s one bright spot.”

The loss served as a detour from a playoff push that O’Keefe emphasized at the beginning of the week. The Archers’ head coach plans to return to that outlook this week.
“We’re in a tough spot, but I’m not going to change course,” O’Keefe said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to get them ready.”