WATERTOWN, WI—The Maranatha men’s soccer team was able to survive through a sluggish performance Friday afternoon, outlasting the Cougars of Kuyper College to the tune of 4-1.
“We weren’t very sharp today,” stated Coach Pill after Friday’s match. “Hopefully, we were just getting our kinks out for the rest of this tournament. But credit to Kuyper—they continued to fight throughout the whole game, were very well organized, and made it really difficult for us to penetrate.”
Penetration came early in the match, however, as freshman forward Wira Wama (Papua New Guinea) was able to dice through the defense in the tenth minute and finish for the first goal of the game. Wama now has twelve goals on the season to lead all players.
Senior forward Dustin Dolan (Watertown, WI) added to the action with a rifle from twenty yards out that skipped right around Kuyper goalkeeper Andrew Mitchell (Belmont, MI), to increase the lead to 2-0.
Maranatha continued its onslaught early, as sophomore forward Tim Rogers (Willmar, MN) dribbled all the way from midfield to the left end line, cutting back to finish for his eighth goal on the season.
Kuyper would answer nineteen minutes later, however, as freshman forward Luke Carrig (Greystones, Ireland) broke free on a miscue from the Crusader defense, and was able to finish past Alex Kornivsky (Charlotte, NC) to reduce the margin to 3-1.
The Crusaders would enter the intermission leading by two, and that lead would remain until midway through the second half.
At the 77th minute, junior midfielder Taylor Pill (Watertown, WI) was able to initiate a beautiful sequence with Wira Wama, cumulating in a give-and-go finish by Pill to notch his ninth goal of the season.
The three goal lead would prove to be enough to outlast the resilient Cougars, and Maranatha capped of their home season with a victory to advance to the NCCAA Regional Semifinal in Dunbar, WI.
“We know we can play better, and hope we do against our next big opponent on Tuesday. We are really looking forward to this rematch against Northland, and have enjoyed participating in the classic match-up with them in the NCCAA semifinals over the past few years,” stated Coach Pill.
With the victory against Kuyper, the Crusaders were able to achieve the milestone of double digit wins on the season, with a current record of 10-7. They will face the Pioneers of Northland International University on Tuesday, October 29th at 2:30 pm. The winner will advance to the NCCAA Regional Championship on Saturday, November 2nd.