GOSHEN, Ind. – Three goals were scored in the final 20 minutes and two more within a minute and a half of halftime as the Goshen College men's soccer team used an exciting finish to defeat visiting Lawrence Tech 3-2 Saturday night.
"It was another close one for us tonight playing against a very athletic team and we struggled a bit with their speed, but I was pleased with the result," head coach Tavi Mounsithiraj said. "Sometimes, you just need to win games like this.
" The Maple Leafs held a strong advantage on possession and attempts in the first half (7-1 shots), but it took until the final seconds of the period to get on the board. A free kick from the right side (taken by Chris Vendrely) found the head of Joel Pepala who struck for the first goal of his Goshen career with just three seconds remaining.
The second half, though, started ominous for the home side. Justin Ritchey struck an impressive volley from 25 yards out just 1:15 into the second 45. The score stayed that way until the 71st minute when Chris Lange finished off a corner kick for the visitors.
"I thought we did a great job in the first 20 minutes of the game dictating the game, maintaining possession and creating chances, but for some reason we just could not find the back of the net," Mounsithiraj continued. "As time went by, Lawrence Tech found their rhythm and gave us problems with their speed. Even in the second half, I thought we still had the better of the play, but we could not put the game away and they made us pay with that second goal."
Less than eight minutes after falling behind for the first time, the Maple Leafs answered. This time Mark Baker send a long ball into the box from the left side and senior Daniel Martin laid out placing it into the corner with his head to again knot the score up, 2-2.
"With 10 minutes left on the clock, it seemed like we had all the momentum and with our fans on our side, we just felt it," Mounsithiraj added.
In the 87th minute, Caleb Longencker made a run down the left side and was ultimately taken down in the box. For the third time this season, junior Josh Van Allen stepped to the penalty spot and for the third time, he hit the back of the net. Blue Devil goalkeeper Josh Lance (two saves) managed to get a hand on it, but not enough to prevent the well-struck penalty from giving Goshen the win.
"This was a good win for us and give LTU credit for playing really hard and competing as well as any team that we have played all season," Mounsithiraj said in closing.
Goshen finished with a 15-8 advantage on shots with both sides peppering five on frame. Senior Brian O'Leary made three saves to earn the win for the Leafs (3-3) who will host Bluffton University Tuesday night.