Men’s soccer slips past Gordon


James Bartlett

Suffolk Midfielder Taj Jensen dribbles past a defender in a win against Gordon

Suffolk men’s soccer defeated Gordon College 1-0 on Saturday, improving their record to 4-3.

After Gordon dominated possession for most of the first half of the game, the Rams were unable to find opportunities to score before halftime.

Suffolk came alive in the second half with several early offensive opportunities. Rams first-year midfielder Taj Jensen missed a one-on-one opportunity with the Gordon goalkeeper as Suffolk began to apply more pressure in Gordon’s half of the pitch.

With just over 10 minutes left in the game, Suffolk midfielder Erik Van Even was able to break through and score for the Ram’s on a header. Van Even was mobbed by his Suffolk teammates on the sideline in celebration.

Suffolk Midfielder Erik Van Even celebrates his go ahead goal (James Bartlett)

“It felt great,” Van Even said. “I’ve been getting a lot of crap from our assistant coach. He said I’ll never score a header so I proved him wrong today.”

Gordon began to play with more urgency following the goal. After one more close call for Gordon in front of the Rams’ goal in the final minutes of the game, Suffolk held on to win the game 1-0.

Rams first-year goalkeeper Xander Balog ended the game with one save in a shutout performance, his second clean sheet of the year in his four starts for the Rams.

“Our defensive shape the entire game was just beautiful, which is why it was 0-1,” Balog said.

Bill Maddock, men’s soccer head coach at Suffolk, was also pleased with his team’s performance on defense throughout the match.

“The result came from our defensive effort,” Maddock said. “We were able to challenge them. We were able to make the game a bit more physical. We were able to work together with trust in our teammates. They were rewarded with the results for sure.”

Erik Van Even shields off a Gordon defender (James Bartlett)

The game was one of Suffolk men’s soccer’s first in front of their home supporters in over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Suffolk crowd included Suffolk University President Marrisa Kelly and her partner Margie Arnold, who enjoyed the Saturday afternoon game in East Boston.

“It’s fabulous. It’s so fun to be here and see the excitement on our players’ faces,” Kelly said. “The fun and the joy of being together was really missing [before].”

Several parents of members on the team were also in attendance.

Jennifer Sheehan was happy to see her son, first-year midfielder Colin Sheehan, on the field once more after over a year of not being able to see him play.

“[It felt] amazing. The stadium is great. The fans are great,” Sheehan said.

Suffolk women’s soccer played Gordon earlier in the day and lost 0-2.

Suffolk men’s soccer is next slated to play Salve Regina at East Boston Memorial Park Saturday at 4:00 pm.

Follow James on Twitter @James_bartlett8