Men’s soccer wins 5-0, Borczak scores hat trick

Borczak+celebrating+against+Robert+Morris+in+the+Grizz+Dome%2C+where+he+scored+three+goals+and+assisted+on+another.

Photo Courtesy of Jose Juarez

Borczak celebrating against Robert Morris in the Grizz Dome, where he scored three goals and assisted on another.

Michael Pearce, Editor-in-Chief

Men’s soccer kicked off their season with a resounding 5-0 win over Robert Morris University (RMU) on the strength of Dylan Borczak’s big game.

Borczak scored a hat trick after the 15-month break, as well as assisting on Owen Smith’s goal, which put the match at 4-0. After being responsible for the first four goals of a 5-0 rout, Borczak was named Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week.

“Dylan was very dynamic, lively, and committed tonight,” Head Coach Eric Pogue said via email. “He was aggressive going to goal right from the start of the game and was unlucky not to have a few more goals, but three goals and one assist is very impressive. Credit his teammates getting him the ball early and often and making sure he got off to a hot start.”

The men’s soccer team was tied for first in the Horizon League preseason poll, and shut out their first opponent. However, getting off to a good start isn’t everything for Pogue and his team. 

Despite a 5-0 win, the team is looking to improve upon a fast start. The team faces the preseason No. 1 University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Flames, who tied with Oakland for first in the preseason polls.

“5-0 is a great way to start, but there is always room for improvement,” Pogue said via email. “Going on the road to play the best team in our conference, besides us, in UIC, we know that we will need to be even more precise, as there is not a lot of room for error when you play a top team like UIC.”

In their first match since 2019, the Golden Grizzlies got off to a fast start. Borczak’s first goal came at the 10 minute mark on an unassisted look. 

Borczak outshot the entire RMU team by himself, taking eight shots compared to the Colonials’ one. Five of Borczak’s shots were on goal, four more than the entire Colonials team.

Since the match took place in February, it was played in the OU dome, located near the soccer, baseball and softball fields. According to Pogue, the turf, which is usually the team’s practice field, made no difference for his team. 

“The turf is no big issue for us, as we train in here everyday, in fact I think we play a better brand of football on turf than on grass, as grass slows us down a bit at times,” Pogue said via email. “I like to think of this as the ‘Terror Dome.’ I wouldn’t want to be an incoming team coming to play us here, as we are pretty special in the Grizz Dome.”

The Golden Grizzlies defense was able to keep the Colonials in check without fouling much. Only one card was given the entire match, and it was given to Adam McAleenan with minutes remaining. 

The Oakland defense held RMU to a lone shot, and goalkeeper Finn Jurak recorded his first clean sheet of the year.

“Oakland soccer has always been known as a strong defensive team that limits other teams opportunities, so that doesn’t change,” Pogue said via email. “Reid Sproat and Kieran Hayes were great in the back for us limiting RMU’s opportunities, but our defense was a total team effort … we take great pride and satisfaction in getting the shutout and only one shot on us all game.”

The men’s soccer team’s next two opponents are UIC, who they play in Chicago on Wednesday, Feb. 10 and Purdue Fort Wayne, who the Golden Grizzlies host on Tuesday, Feb. 16.