WATERTOWN, WI—In a game filled with even play and equal opportunities, the Maranatha men’s soccer team was unable to outscore the Eagles of Edgewood on a brisk Monday afternoon, losing 3-1.
“I thought it was a really good game for us, a really even game,” stated Coach Pill after Monday’s defeat. “I was pleased with our focus…really our whole approach to the game.”
The Crusaders came out strong early, with Taylor Pill (Watertown, WI) connecting on a volley in the 16th minute from about 35 yards deep that sailed just over the outstretched hand of the Eagle goalkeeper. With the bullet, Pill upped his goal tally to eight on the season, tied for second on the team with sophomore Tim Rogers (Willmar, MN).
Maranatha’s defense would only hold strong for about the next sixteen minutes, however, as junior forward Kelmend Isaj (Tirana, Albania) broke through the Crusader back line and finished for his fourth goal of the season.
The scoreboard would remain frozen for the next thirteen minutes until the intermission, with Maranatha controlling the offensive battle and registering three shots.
The second period saw almost a complete line-up change by the Edgewood coaching staff, but even the fresh, warm legs of the new players could not outmatch the resilient Crusaders for the first forty minutes of action.
Forward Wira Wama (Papua New Guinea) almost gave the Crusaders the 2-1 lead at the 73rd minute, but the low laser ricocheted off the inside post and back away from the goal line.
Tides began to turn at the 85th minute mark, however, as a Crusader defensive error in the box forced freshman goalkeeper Alex Kornivsky (Charlotte, NC) off his line, but beating him to the ball was Henry Simon (Kimberly, WI) for the Eagles, who put it away to give Edgewood the 2-1 lead.
Just two and a half minutes later, more defensive miscues from the Crusaders, coupled with deft dribbling by Andrew Aurit (Monroe, WI) for the Eagles, bumped the score up to 3-1 in favor of Edgewood.
The lead would remain for the final two minutes of action, with Maranatha dropping just their second home game all season after a closely contested match.
“It’s just disappointing that our errors led to two of their goals. If Wama had buried that shot that hit the post…who knows, maybe we could have finished the game off,” says Coach Pill.
This was the Crusaders last regular season game of the year, who finished with a 5-2 home record, 9-7 overall.
Maranatha will face-off against Kuyper College this weekend as they begin NCCAA tournament play, with a scheduled game time of 2:30 on Friday, October 25th.