BY TYLER MILLIKEN //
The Colonels delivered a dominant performance at home on Sunday afternoon as a complete team effort overwhelmed Johnson State from the get-go.
After picking up their first win on Thursday, the Colonels hoped to end the weekend with their first winning streak of the season. Head coach Peter Mendel was animated during his pregame speech as he let everyone know what his expectations for the game were.
Physicality highlighted the first few minutes of the game as the two teams attempted to set a tone. Both sides had players that were talked to early on and it seemed to somewhat fix the issue. The game had more intensity than most non-conference matchups have this early in the season.
In the 9th minute, forward Diego Vargas gave Curry the lead with an unassisted goal. He used some impressive footwork to escape a few defenders before scoring from outside the box. It marked Vargas’ second goal in four games this season.
Defenseman Giancarlo Orsini and midfielder Chris Ricca increased Curry’s lead to three by halftime, leaving the Badgers desperate for production.
Despite a great start to the game, Mendel wasn’t satisfied with his team’s lead. He challenged his team to keep scoring against Badgers’ goalie Gerrit Lane, while preserving the shutout.
Momentum continued to swing on Curry’s side in the second half as Ben Silva scored the team’s fourth goal in the 49th minute. He was awarded a penalty shot after being blindsided by a slide tackle.
Ricca scored Curry’s final goal in the 72nd minute, capping off an impactful performance for the midfielder. Throughout the game, he made plays on both sides of the ball displaying some serious hustle on different passes and scoring opportunities.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Colonels put together their best performance of the season. Johnson State attempted only one shot during the game and it wasn’t close to going in. Curry consistently swarmed the ball, breaking up numerous passes.
After the final whistle, Ricca was humble about his breakout performance.
“I wasn’t expecting it but it’s good to get the clean sheet. The whole team did well, I couldn’t do it without them,” said Ricca.
Mendel expanded on Ricca’s growth at the college level.
“Chris is a pretty solid player. He reads the game well. He just needs to get into the whole college soccer mode, and understand the physicality and the speed of play,” said Mendel.
Heading into next week’s matchups, Mendel seemed confident about his team’s mindset.
“I think we’re ready to take the next step and take the next challenge. We know the intensity is going to pick up, and we’re looking forward to it,” Mendel said. “If we have a good week of training, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
The Colonels return to action on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Framingham State. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at the Maple Street Game Field.