The University of Rhode Island men’s soccer team defeated two Atlantic 10 opponents this past week when it beat Saint Joseph’s University, 2-1, on Wednesday and George Washington University, 1-0, on Saturday for its first conference victories of the season.
In Wednesday’s game, the Rams came out hustling in the first half. Freshman Emil Jesman Sunde scored twice, the first of which was a strike off of a Ryan Bailey assist in the 28th minute. Only six minutes after his first goal, Sunde tallied another on the scoreboard when Ryan Oakley weaved his way between the St. Joseph’s backline before finding Sunde in the 6-yard box for a first-time finish. The Hawks struck on one occasion in the 65th minute when Emmanuel Temeh scored, but Rhode Island was able to hold the them scoreless for the remainder of the second half.
On Saturday Rhode Island traveled to George Washington for the second conference match of the week. The first half ended scoreless, but Rhode Island freshman Dominik Richter created consecutive opportunities in the second half. He scored on his second chance with 30 minutes remaining in regulation off of a Carlo Davids assist. Two minutes following the Rhode Island goal, George Washington hit the crossbar with what would have been the equalizer. Rhode Island sophomore goalkeeper Nils Leifhelm was credited with his fourth clean sheet of the season and made six saves on the night.
“Our offense has regained their footing and we have been knocking the ball around better, our guys really know their roles,” head coach Gareth Elliott said. “Emil and Dominik are both freshmen when it comes to division one soccer, but they have played at extremely high levels before. Both of their contributions for the team have been tremendous, but it’s what we expect from players of their quality.”
Rhode Island prepares for the rematch of last year’s Atlantic 10 Tournament final, when Fordham University arrives Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Rhode Island Soccer Complex. Results were not available at press time.
“They defeated us for the Atlantic 10 Championship last year, so this will definitely be a great test and hard fought match,” Elliott said. “They have done well with recruiting but every match at this point is important especially in conference. Our guys are excited.”