CINCINNATI – Senior forward Luke Spencer continued his torrid pace as he scored twice and had an assist for the Xavier men’s soccer team that earned a 3-1 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday at the Xavier University Soccer Complex.
Spencer tallied a goal in the first half and the eventual game-winning goal in the second half to keep the Musketeers (4-0-1) unbeaten heading into their match against Virginia on Friday. Sophomore midfielder Will Walker tacked on an insurance goal via Spencer’s assist late in the match.
The Musketeers’ first score came on a lengthy possession in the 32nd minute that swung around from corner-to-corner. Junior Adar Cohen raced down the touch line, took a pass from junior Matt Walker, and served it to Spencer, who redirected it home for his fifth goal of the season.
Spencer’s goal highlighted a string of Xavier scoring chances that saw the Musketeers erase an early shot disadvantage. Xavier started off the match down by four shot but finished the half holding an 8-6 advantage and the lead.
Milwaukee (3-2-0) countered after a missed chance by Xavier to tie the score in the 61st minute. A series of crossing passes found the Musketeers on their hells as Stuart McBain was able to tuck in a shot from corner post.
As they have done all season the Musketeers’ offense responded and earned a corner kick after a near goal by junior Gino De Paoli on a free kick. Cohen’s strike on the set piece was blocked to freshman Rhodes Moore who poked it to an open Spencer. Wasting little time the forward drained it home from inside of the penalty area to break the tie.
It was the second time this season that the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week has scored twice in a match. His six goals on the season lead the Musketeers and the conference.
Spencer had two chances at recording a hat trick in the closing minutes of the match. His first attempt was blocked and the second he turned into an assist. With 75 seconds remaining in the match, Spencer chipped the ball from the corner of the 18-yard box to sophomore Will Walker who flicked it home for the second goal of the year.
Xavier has scored three goals in back-to-back matches for the first time since 2003. The five-game unbeaten streak is also the longest to start a season in program history.
The Musketeers finished the match with 18 shots, nine shots on goal, and an uncharacteristic 15 fouls. Milwaukee had 10 total shots, four shots on goal, and 11 fouls. Xavier held the corner kick advantage, 6-4.
Senior goalkeeper Justin Marshall (4-0-1) made three saves to earn the victory. He missed the final 15 minutes of the first period after a collision on a corner kick, but returned to play the entire second half. Shakon (3-2-0) took the loss for Milwaukee after making six saves over 90 minutes.
Xavier returns to the road to take on Virginia, one of the most storied programs in the nation. The Musketeers face the Cavaliers beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday from Klöckner Stadium.