Leafs win conference opener 1-0 against Marian University.
Winless in conference openers since 2007, the Goshen Men’s soccer team broke their unlucky streak in a tense match against Marian University, knocking off the visiting Knights 1-0 on Saturday night.
Joel Yoder, a senior, scored the game’s lone goal when he buried a shot past Marian’s Tyler Blattner, a sophomore, from about 10 yards out in the 80th minute of play.
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie as they entered halftime. Despite no scoring taking place in the opening half, the teams combined for a total of 16 first half shots, with Goshen goalkeeper Dean Nafziger, a junior, recording three saves. Despite shooting seven times, Goshen failed to be on target even once before halftime.
Once the second half started, however, the pace of the game got turned up as both teams fought hard to be the one to open the scoring. Again Marian outshot Goshen in the second half, this time 12-11, but in the end, only one shot ended up counting.
With only 10:22 left to play, Goshen’s Joel Pepala, a senior, gave the ball to Josh Stoltzfus, a sophomore, around the box, and Stoltzfus dribbled to the far side of the box. Stoltzfus then left the ball for Yoder, who came crashing in and ripped a shot into the bottom corner.
While Blattner made several impressive second half saves, it was the one he couldn’t get to that ultimately sunk the Knights. Despite pushing hard in the final minutes and keeping the play tense, Marian couldn’t make the tying goal materialize, and when the final horn sounded, Yoder’s tally stood up as the game winner.
Despite Goshen out fouling Marian 6-5, the Knights couldn’t take advantage. Nafziger earned his third shutout of the season while making seven saves, and 11 different Maple Leafs contributed at least 1 shot in the win.
With the win, Goshen jumped to 6-4 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. The Maple Leafs take to the road and play at Taylor University on Saturday.