Midfielder Ludvik Benco gets the ball into the goalie box, adding pressure against Fordham in this week’s game. Photo by James McIntosh
It was a good week for Rhode Island Men’s Soccer, as they took home wins against two Atlantic 10 foes.
First Rhody took down their Ram counterparts of Fordham. The Rams entered this matchup with an overall record of 4-3-2 and were coming off of a loss to fellow conference foe Saint Louis University, 1-0. They were looking to get back into the win column against the 3-6-1 Fordham Rams.
Fordham, who was shut out in their last matchup 1-0, was also looking to get on the scoreboard early, which they did. Fordham jumped out to a 1-0 lead when senior forward Johannes Pieles scored on a rebound just 3:18 into the first half.
It wasn’t a long wait before the Rams evened it up. Junior forward Filippo Tamburini scored off assists from redshirt sophomore Edvin Akselsen and senior Noam Kolakofsky in the 13th minute. This was Tamburini’s first goal of the game and his fifth in the Rams last eight games.
However, the Rams first-half scoring wasn’t finished. They managed to break the tie in the 28th minute when Akselsen knocked one in off assists from Tamburini and senior Ludvik Benco.
Both teams held each other scoreless for the final 17 minutes of the first half and Rhody went into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
“It was a slow start to this one for us,” Head Coach Gareth Elliott said. “But we created some opportunities for ourselves and it paid off.”
The score remained the same for nearly thirty minutes in the second half until Rhody got the insurance goal. Senior Stavros Zarokostas scored in the 75th minute off an assist from Akselsen. This goal all but sealed the game for the Rams as strong defense held Fordham without a goal for the remainder of the game. Rhody’s goalkeeper, redshirt junior Stefan Schmidt made nine saves in the contest.
Rhode Island continued their success against the Explorers of La Salle wednesday night, taking home a 3-2 victory. The Rams got pressure early and often, finishing the evening with 19 total shots, nine of which came on goal. Noam Kolakofsky paced Rhody in this one with two goals of his own, with Edvin Akselsen continuing his incredible play adding a goal of his own. Akselsen also added an assist to his statline.
The Rams improved their conference record to 3-1-0 after their two victories and their overall record to 6-3-2. The past two wins have Rhody on fire, as they have now won six of their last eight matchups.
“The team is really gelling together, they’re taking advantage of more opportunities and playing very well,” Elliott said.
Wins as a team weren’t the only success Rhody’s had in the past week. Akselsen’s performance in the game helped earn him a spot on College Soccer News’ National Team of the Week. Akselsen also earned the honor of Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Week as he finished the game with three points off of the two assists and one goal.
Akslesen has been a major part of the Rams success during their last eight games. He has recorded 10 total points, three goals and seven assists, in that time frame.
“Edvin has been playing really great these last seven or eight games,” Elliott said. “And on Saturday he really turned it on. He stepped up big for us.”
Akselsen hasn’t been the only major impact player during this stretch for the Rams. Graduate student Charlie Booth, who transferred to URI this year after spending four years at Brown University has made his presence known on defense. The Rams are 6-1-2 when Booth plays as opposed to being 0-2-0 when he doesn’t.
“Booth is a big presence back there,” Elliott said. “He’s a big guy and is very physical on defense which makes a big difference.”
The Rams are back on the field this Saturday, Oct. 12 as they travel to conference rival Saint Joseph’s University for a 7 p.m. matchup. Rhody will also be in action on Tuesday where they travel to in-state rival Brown University.