Pioneers Strike Back to Hold Academy of Art in a 2-2 Draw

Shubham Sharma, Sports Editor

On Sep. 10, California State University East Bay Men’s soccer team hosted Academy of Art University in a non-conference matchup. The Pioneers started their new season with a morale-boosting win against UC Merced, although they have only been able to register one victory against UC Santa Cruz since that match. This scrimmage was the perfect opportunity for the Pioneers to capitalize on their most recent win and build a solid foundation for future games.

The matchup history between AAU and CSUEB Men’s soccer teams is exceptionally balanced, as both teams have the same number of wins against each other. The two teams have played a total of six games against one another since 2008: two in favor of the Pioneers, two in favor of AAU’s Urban Knights, and two draws. As historical peers, the Pioneers were determined to break the deadlock.
From the onset of the match, the Urban Knights looked to overwhelm the Pioneers with aggressive tactics. Their early dominance paid dividends, as AAU forward Gilly Miller dribbled past the Pioneer defense and scored the opener at the 14-minute mark, securing an early lead and setting the bar high.

Despite their bold entrance, the Urban Knights lost their advantage, conceding a goal just a minute after scoring the opener. Pioneer forward Michael Rossi bagged not only the first goal for the Pioneers but his first goal of the 2022 season. As expected, the Urban Knights and the Pioneers tied 1-1 by the end of the first half.

After a rapid recovery, the second half started with an anticipated Pioneer victory. Determined to sway the balance in their favor, after the opening 15 minutes, the Pioneers began to falter to the offensive pressure of the Urban Knights. AAU’s midfielder Kendryx Soriano, and Gilly Miller on the assist, collectively tilted the score in the Urban Knight’s favor at the 66-minute mark.

Witnessing the game slipping away, Pioneer supporters were braced for the fourth defeat of the season. The Urban Knights wouldn’t stay in the lead for long, however, as Michael Rossi delivered a crucial goal for the Pioneers with another assist from Josh Gaeckle mere minutes after the Knights gained the advantage. For the remainder of the half, the Pioneers toiled hard to stop the Urban Knights from scoring the winning goal.

Ultimately, the game concluded with a 2-2 draw, marking the end to a thrilling game in which Pioneers were able to peg the Urban Knights to a stalemate. The Pioneers exhibited incredible character and fighting spirit until the final moments of the game. Michael Rossi and Josh Gaeckle have revolutionized this season and hopefully, the team continues to take note, nurture the talent, and tap into their full potential next time they step onto the field.