GOSHEN, Ind. - Four goals were scored in the second half and two in the final 11 minutes as the Goshen College men's soccer team pulled out a 3-2 win over Purdue University Calumet in the team's home opener Saturday night.
"It was a beautiful night for a home opener for us and our faithful fans and I thought it was a good win for us and for our fans," head coach Tavi Mountithiaj said. "Give credit to the team for this victory. We have 44 players in the player pool and all have been working and learning from each other. We are not where we want to be yet, but we are working hard. Again, a shout our to the fans!"
Despite the final score line, it was a struggle early. The visitors opened the scoring 16 minutes in through Djurica Bukur and even with being out shot 9-6 in the period, took a 1-0 lead into the halftime intermission.
"I thought we were the better team in the first 45 minutes and the boys created a lot of chances, but for some reason we kept putting the ball where the keeper was or just missing the target," Mounsithiraj continued. "Purdue Calumet made us pay for our lack of converting our chances. They are a very good team with a number of very good players that will give a lot of teams fits and surprise many people this season and next if they continue to play together."
Just 1:28 into the second half, the Maple Leafs broke through and got on the board. Junior Dennis Chavez found senior Daniel Martin in the box and he rose above an oncoming goalkeeper to head home the equalizer. Eight minutes later, junior Jacob Yoder broke free on the left side, beat his man and then beat the keeper to the far post for Goshen's first lead of the season.
"Being down one-nil, I told the boys to keep playing hard and that we did not play poorly to be behind," the 12th-year head coach continued. "I thought they responded very well, obviously finishing chances, but also defensively doing a better job containing their skillful players and keeping them in check."
It remained 2-1 Goshen until the 80th minute when Andres Ayala deposited a direct free kick into the back of the net from 20 yards out.
"What a shot that was to tie it up, that had to be something from the highlight reel," Mounsithiraj said. "I admit, I did not know how much we could do about that, but I still felt like we had a couple more good runs left in us."
Not willing to send their crowd home without a victory, Goshen did have that one last run in them. Sophomore Caleb Longenecker struck for his first goal of the season with just 3:13 to play, perfectly placing it in the lower-left corner from the top of the box.
The Maple Leafs out shot the visitors 21-10 overall and 13-5 on frame. Brian O'Leary made three saves for Goshen, while Purdue's Tom Spillman had eight saves in the loss.
Goshen (1-1) will be back in action next Thursday when they host NAIA #25 Saint Xavier University.