AURORA, ILL. – Despite the score, it was a good outing for the Crusader men’s soccer team as they visited Aurora University in Aurora, IL., for a non-conference matchup Saturday afternoon.
After a scoreless, back and forth first thirty minutes, a long throw by Aurora junior Jason O’Brien (Naperville, IL.) took a bad bounce off of a Crusader defender’s shoulder and found the back of the net for the Spartans first goal. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Kornivsky (Charlotte, N.C.) and the rest of the Crusader defense were then able to hold off the Spartan attack for the remainder of the first half, entering halftime down 1-0.
“It was a closely contested first half,” states Crusader head coach Jeff Pill. “We were able to keep our defense nice and tight, only suffering from an unfortunate bounce off of a long throw.”
Less than three minutes into the second half, however, Aurora senior Jon Palomar (Romeoville, IL.) connected on a diving header off of a cross from Jason O’Brien, pushing the lead to 2-0.
With only one shot on goal the entire game (Taylor Pill: 84 minute), Aurora goalkeeper Zach Richter (Naperville, IL.) did not see much action from the Crusader front in either half. Aurora would score one more time before the final whistle, thanks to a Crusader foul in the box and resulting penalty kick taken by senior midfielder Emmanuel Denton (Aurora, IL.).
Despite the outcome and offensive struggles, Coach Pill remained enthusiastic after the game. “It was really a good, all-around performance for us. I feel like we even played better than we did in our win against Beloit a few days ago. Good progress and some signs of real consistency today by our guys.” says Pill.
This progress was exhibited mostly by senior midfielder Brian Lundquist (Reading, MA.), junior midfielder Jackson Miller (Marinette, WI.), and junior defender Michael Bagin (Richfield, WI.). Kornivsky and sophomore Charlie Leeds (Fond du Lac, WI.) each played a half in goal and registered 5 saves apiece. Coach Pill was also pleased with transfer Kyler Mowry’s good play off the bench, who contributed well to the Crusader attack out of the back.
The Crusader’s next match-up will be Thursday evening, September 26th, as the team heads to Milwaukee to battle the Warriors of Wisconsin Lutheran.