WATERTOWN, WI—The Maranatha men’s soccer team was able to overcome a slow start Saturday afternoon, rallying to defeat the Crusaders of Great Lakes Christian College 7-0.
“It was a very disjointed first half with a late start and several early injuries to some of their players,” remarked head coach Jeff Pill after the game. “We started really slow and couldn’t seem to get into a good rhythm…Unfortunately, I think we let the distractions get in the way a little too much.”
Before the early struggles, however, freshman forward Wira Wama (Papua New Guinea) put the Crusaders on the board early, capitalizing in the box with a nice shot to the opposite side netting at the five minute mark.
Twenty minutes later, Maranatha was awarded a penalty kick due to a Crusader hand ball in the box. Taylor Pill (Watertown, WI) was able to put the shot on frame, but it was turned aside nicely by Great Lakes goalkeeper Jeremy Smith to keep the score at 1-0.
Just a minute later, a careless, malicious challenge by Nathan Cleaver of Great Lakes on forward Tim Rogers (Willmar, MN) warranted a red card and immediate ejection from the official.
Maranatha was not able to take advantage of these opportunities, however, and good defense by the Great Lakes back line held the score at 1-0 through halftime.
The Crusaders were able to turn things around in the second half, thanks to a different system and greater intensity.
“We were able to regain our focus and come out much stronger in the second half. I thought we played real sharp and availed ourselves of opportunities to get better,” stated Coach Pill.
After an own goal by the Great Lakes defense twenty minutes into the second half, Wama pursued an entry ball by junior defender Michael Bagin (Richfield, WI) to connect for his second goal of the match.
Junior defender Drew DeLozier (Watertown, WI) would score just two minutes later, and just like that the Crusader lead became 4-0.
Both Wama and DeLozier would find the net one more time before the final whistle, with Wama notching his first hat trick for the Crusaders this season.
Taylor Pill was able to redeem himself with a late penalty kick goal before time expired, and the match would end to the tune of 7-0.
The Crusaders improve to 9-6 overall with the victory, and 6-2 in NCCAA conference play. Maranatha will play it’s final regular season game at home this coming Monday against Edgewood College at 3:30 pm, before preparing for NCCAA tournament play beginning next weekend.