Goshen soccer teams achieved mixed results on the pitch Tuesday night, as the women and men’s teams both faced off against the Huntington University. The women dropped a frustrating conference opener, losing 4-1 to the Foresters. Later in the evening, the men fought past an early second half equalizer, to beat Huntington 3-1 and bring home the 100th win for head coach Tavi Mounsithiraj. The win for the men’s team marked their first conference win of the season.
The Lady Leafs faced a daunting task after falling into a two point deficit in the first fifteen minutes of the game. Huntington’s first goal came in the fifth minute, as Brittany Hartman ran onto a long ball and split the Goshen defense. Ten minutes later, keeper Lynn Weaver was again caught off guard by a powerful 20 yard shot. The Leafs buckled down and even appeared to be on a rally when freshman Dana Christner picked up on a free kick from sophomore Mara Swartzentruber and put the ball in the back of the net.
“I connected with the ball from a cross making the score one to two. I felt like we had a chance to win at that point,” said Christner.
The evening ended in disappointment for the women. In their quest for the equalizer, Goshen made themselves vulnerable to several counter attacks, two of which resulted in Huntington goals.
“Overall, we were all quite frustrated with the results of the game, though we can look at it as a learning experience,” said senior Liz Gunden, “ We now know that we need to come out ready to play, and we look to turn things around this Saturday as we play at Taylor.”
The men’s team successfully ending a two game losing streak, achieving their first conference win of the season. Despite fairly equal possession, the team never found itself in a hole. Senior Juan Diaz De Leon put the Leafs out in front fairly early, when he sunk a shot from the top of the box, registering his first goal of the season. Huntington did manage an equalizer early in the second half, but Goshen lost no composure. The one point lead came again midway through the second half, as sophomore Alejandro Davalos found the goal with a powerful thirty yard shot. The Leafs never looked back and shortly thereafter sealed the deal with a goal from sophomore Jan Dohnal, his first career point.
“The first and most important thing was that this game was a ‘must win’ situation for us,” said Diaz De Leon, “It’s been disheartening to come onto our turf and not be able to give the fans what they expect. This season has been expected to be a rebuilding season, as the team lost practically all it’s starters from last season. However, that’s not what we want to have as an excuse. We know we have a great team that is capable of plenty this season. The team showed a different side that we had been lacking in previous games.”
This game also represents a milestone for head coach Tavi Mounsithiraj, who logged his 100th career win with the Maple Leafs. This benchmark has only been achieved by two other Goshen College head soccer coaches, Dwain Hartzler (259) and John Ingold (101).
“With this 100th win, I do want to thank Mr. Pletcher, the former athletic director, for having faith in me and giving me an opportunity be a coach at Goshen College. This 100th win wouldn’t be possible without all the coaches that start such a great tradition, all the great players, and most of all the student body that comes out every night to will our team to the victory,” said Tavi.
Tavi will look to tie John Ingold with 101 wins as the men’s Maple Leafs travel to Saint Francis University on Saturday. The women will go to face off against Taylor University on Saturday at 1:00pm.