Sports analyst Callie Hummel discusses last week’s game against Temple and Zinnhardt being the AAC defensive player of the week.
Til Zinnhardt, a junior defender on the Tulsa men’s soccer team, is currently the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the week. His defensive presence on the field has kept the team at only nine allowed goals in the 11 games played; however, Zinnhardt has proven himself to also be more than a defensive player with the events in the game against Temple on Oct. 16.
In the 60th minute with the score tied 1-1, Zinnhardt headed the ball into the back of Temple’s net for the game winning goal off a corner kick by Tom Protzek. This was Zinnhardt’s first collegiate goal as he’s usually back farther on the defensive line. However, his defensive capabilities were also put to use against Temple as they only got three shots on goal.
After a close 3-2 loss to University of Central Florida Oct. 10, Tulsa had five days before playing their next important game against Temple. The first half went by with no goals, as Temple was playing a predominately defensive game. However, just three minutes after the second half started, a Temple defender fouled Alex Meinhard to the left of the goal right inside the 18-yard box, resulting in a yellow card and penalty kick. While Temple disputed the call, saying the foul happened outside of the box and wanting an indirect kick instead, Tulsa was lined up and waiting for the ref to blow the whistle on the penalty kick. Meinhard promptly scored the penalty, putting Tulsa up 1-0.
Just two minutes after the successful penalty kick, a Temple offender took a shot from outside the 18-yard box and put the ball in the corner of the goal. With the game tied 1-1, the minutes continued to tick by without any advances.
The game was getting increasingly rougher as the time went on, from fights breaking out between the teams to numerous yellow cards given out to the Temple team. There were continuous post-play hits, a player hitting into their opponent after the ball had been paced to someone else and the ref’s back was turned.
A key player in the victory against Temple was defender Mitchell Cashion. He played on the left wing and continuously transitioned the ball from defense to forwards to give the offense scoring opportunities. The ball stayed predominately on the left side of the field the entire game because of his strong passes and runs.
In the 60th minute, the ball ricocheted off a Temple defender out of bounds on the goal line, giving Tulsa a corner kick. On most of their previous corner kicks, an offensive player would run in to get the short ball and perform a give-and-go with the original kicker. As Meinhard ran in for the short pass, the defense followed him, but the kicker Protzek sent the ball into the air right into the middle of the box. Zinnhardt, posted directly in the middle, sent the ball to the left side of the net past the Temple goalie.
The team was undeniably happy for Zinnhardt, who immediately ran over to celebrate with Protzek for his perfectly placed corner kick.
Zinnhardt’s goal ended up being the game winner and he and other defenders held off Temple for the final 30 minutes of the game.
Tulsa now has a 11-1 overall record and has a 6-1 conference record, as they went on to win against Memphis on Oct. 22 5-0, who they had previously defeated 1-0. Now, the team will play SMU again in Dallas on Oct. 27, and we’ll see if they can continue this success.