Coaches in Goshen, Mishawaka and across the country wore sneakers and suits to their games on Saturday in support of Coaches vs. Cancer.
Over the past two years, this program has raised $175,000 from gate proceeds. Though the NAIA raised a significant amount of money for Coaches vs. Cancer, the Maple Leafs struggled with their own battle against rival school Bethel College.
Coming into Saturday’s home game against the No. 22 Pilots, Goshen’s women’s team was depleted by injuries. The Maple Leafs were reduced to seven active starters due to a combination of previous player injuries and newly acquired injuries and illnesses. Kelsey Herschberher, a sophomore, was inactive after she tore her ACL in practice on Friday. Rachel Allen, a junior, did not play due to the flu.
Stormy Holder, a first-year, played despite missing the team’s game against Spring Arbor University on January 21. Battling knee and ankle injuries, Holder scored 8 points and pulled down 9 rebounds.
Despite the injuries, the Maple Leafs got off to a hot start and finished the first half with a seven point lead, 25-18.
“We got off to a very good start,” said Head Coach Steve Wiktorowski. “We surprised them a little.”
As the game wore on, however, Goshen’s thin bench hurt them. Bethel played a solid second half and Goshen simply did not have enough energy to respond, losing 66-54.
“We didn’t come out as strong as we needed to at the start of the second half,” Wiktorowski said. “We were able to hang around, but their aggressiveness and our fatigue did us in.”
The men’s basketball team also played Bethel College on Saturday. The men’s team knew they would have to play their best ball of the season in order to beat the Pilots, the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
According to Head Coach Gary Chupp, Goshen played one of their worst games of the season, losing 91-59.
“We picked a bad night to have our worst game of the year,” said Head Coach Gary Chupp. “Bethel is number one in the country for a reason, and it was a game that just continued to snowball [out of control].”
The Maple Leafs rebounded from Saturday’s loss to beat No. 18 Grace College on Tuesday by a score of 88-75. This was the second win for the Maple Leafs against the Lancers this season. Errick McCollum led all scorers with 28 points and Nate West exploded for 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The Maple Leafs continue their M.C.C. play on Satuday as they travel to Fort Wayne to take on the University of Saint Francis Cougars at 3 p.m.