Aided by a fast start out of the gate, the Maranatha Men’s soccer team defeated Ripon College 3-2 on a beautiful Thursday afternoon. “We played a great first game against a quality opponent,” remarks Coach Jeff Pill after the game. “We were able to get settled in fairly quickly and adapt to the speed of play.” The Crusaders definitely surged early, led by a goal from sophomore Tim Rogers (Willmar, MN) at the 11.5 minute mark, assisted by Wira Wama (Papua New Guinea). Just a minute later, Taylor Pill (Watertown, WI) connected on a rifled shot from 35 yards to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Crusaders.
This early dominance continued all the way throughout the first half until Ripon sophomore Calvin Manuel (Appleton, WI) scored on a cross with less than eight minutes remaining until halftime. This late, first-half goal gave the Red Hawks momentum entering into halftime, despite the Crusaders leading 2-1.
The game became very competitive and evenly matched most of the second half, until the 67th minute when Brian Lundquist (Reading, MA) scored on a beautiful free kick into the left upper ninety from the 30 yard line. “All three goals today were very high quality, beautiful goals,” states Pill. “Tim Rogers with great hustle and alertness in the box was able to get our first one, and then Taylor’s goal, what a bomb that was! And at the end, Brian iced the deal with a quality free kick.”
The Crusaders led 3-1 for nearly 20 minutes after that, until the Red Hawk’s pressure broke through and senior forward Spencer Reisbick (Westminster, CO) muscled in a cross during the 85th minute, assisted by Josh Luna (New Berlin, WI). With only 5 minutes remaining, however, the Crusaders were able to play possession and keep the Red Hawks from finding the net again to seal the victory at 3-2.
The Crusaders are looking forward to their next regular season matchup against Northland International University in Dunbar Wisconsin at 1 pm on Saturday. The Pioneers are currently ranked #2 in the country for NCCAA DII, and the ‘Saders will look to adjust to their high speed of play and experienced athletes. Says Coach Pill of Saturday’s matchup, “We really want to keep our defending tight come Saturday. I thought we did a pretty good job of that today, but we will have to really defend if we want a good result come Saturday. This will be a great challenge for us early on in our season to see where we stand and what areas need improving.”