Men’s Soccer Still Staying Competitive


All-Tournament sophomore Kalle Sotka, FCRH ’15, has been an intergal part of the team’s success. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)


All-Tournament sophomore Kalle Sotka, FCRH ’15, has been an intergal part of the team’s success. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)

Fordham men’s soccer team increased their overall record to 5-4-2 and their Atlantic 10 conference record to 1-1-1 after a late 2-1 victory against George Washington University on Oct. 14. The win came after a tie and a loss against their previous Atlantic 10 opponents.

Sunday’s win was also the first time the Rams scored more than one goal in a game since the fifth game of the season on Sept. 7. Since that game, the Rams offense had been completely shut out in three of six games, while they scored just one goal in the other three games, resulting in two wins, two ties and two losses.

Due to the low scoring offense, Fordham gave up a chance at winning in either overtime or double overtime in a few of their recent games. When Fordham opened the 2012 Atlantic 10 regular season with the La Salle University Explorers on Oct. 5, both teams struggled to score during the first two halves. Neither team scored at all until six minutes into overtime when La Salle’s Jidell Roach scored a goal off of Fordham’s keeper Sean Brailey, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’15, to win for the Explorers, 1-0.

One week later, while visiting the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Fordham failed to score yet again. There was not an official shot on goal in the entire game for Fordham, and in the end of two overtimes, neither Fordham nor Charlotte scored, leading to a 0-0 tie. Although the general lack of scoring for Fordham is rather disappointing, the team’s defense has consistently been a gigantic bright spot. Brailey recorded five clean sheets for the season and made three saves in net for the Rams on Oct. 14. The defense altogether has allowed only four goals in the past seven games.

But in the Oct. 14 game against the George Washington University’s Colonials, the Rams offense awoke and gave the defense a helping hand. The first half of the game saw both teams scoreless. However, the Rams were able to score first when midfielder/forward Tommy Granot, FCRH ’16, sent a free kick in the direction of forward Julian Nagel, FCRH ’14, in the 58th minute, who then kicked the ball past the Colonials’ keeper Luke Farewell. George Washington University came back a minute later when the Colonials Seth Rudolph kicked his fifth goal of the season past Brailey.

Rather than give up the lead, or settle for another tie, Fordham played on, despite many fouls and a yellow card given to forward Taylor Gulbins, FCRH ’14. Neither teams scored until Fordham struck a late goal 88 minutes-and-48 seconds into the 90-minute game. The scorer was midfielder/forward Kyle Bitterman, FCRH ’16, who was a substitution for forward Ryan Walsh, FCRH ’16, in the 76th minute of the game. Bitterman broke up the 1-1 tie with his second goal of the season. The goal was set up by midfielder Kalle Sotka, FCRH ’15, who sent a corner kick in the direction of the Colonials’ net, where Bitterman was able to kick in the ball past Farrell.

“Kyle has had a really good season,” Head Coach Jim McElderry said to Matt Rosenfeld of the Rams after a game against the Manhattan College Jaspers. “He’s getting better every game. He’s learning how to expose teams with his pace and his work rate. I was happy for him that he got rewarded with a goal.” In both the Manhattan College and George Washington University games, Bitterman was the one to kick the winning goal in.

After a long offensive drought of low-scoring games, maybe Sunday night’s game will be the one to turn around the Rams’ offense this season. The next four games for the Rams will all be at the Jack Coffey Field on the Rose Hill campus, with each game coming against Atlantic 10 conference opponents.