The Goshen College men’s soccer season ended on Saturday night in a 3-0 loss to Indiana Wesleyan University during the championship match of the 2014 Crossroads League men’s soccer tournament.IWU started the game with a quick goal when Keaton Albert, a junior, connected with the goal less than two minutes into the game. This goal was held up as the game-winner and had a lasting influence on the rest of the game.
Andres Garcia, a senior captain, talked about how this goal affected the team, “Coming into the game everyone was very focused and ready to go. The early goal caught us by surprise and hit our confidence right away.”
However Garcia said that the team did not give up and he highlighted how the younger players kept fighting the entire game.
Albert was not done as he scored another goal with exactly 20 minutes on the clock before halftime. Indiana Wesleyan was awarded a free kick opportunity that was initially cleared out by the Maple Leafs. The ball found its way out of the box but was collected by Albert. His shot towards the goal hit the back of a Maple Leaf defender and then went to the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
At the half Goshen College had shot twice on goal, while IWU shot four times.
“The halftime was tough, losing 2-0 on a final it’s always bad but there was still confidence that we could make a comeback,” Garcia said.
The Maple Leafs had some problems in the second half as IWU took 9 of the 11 total shots in the period. Only one shot was a goal and that was from Wildcat Sam Kane with 15:13 left in the contest for the final 3-0 lead.
With this goal and the victory, Indiana Wesleyan earns its second straight Crossroads League Tournament Championship and advances to the NAIA National Championship for the second consecutive year.
Garcia said that it was a sad moment for the team to lose the game because they lost a chance to make history, however, simply being in the game was a wonderful opportunity. “Reaching the conference championship was something amazing for me, for the guys and for Goshen.”
For Garcia, it was an even harder loss because it was his last college game. Looking back he said, “My experience here was the best I could ever ask for.”
Garcia gives credit for the successful year to the Maple Leafs fans, some of whom made the drive to support the team at the Wildcat Field.
“It was great to have all of them there,” he said. “We have the best fans. They are very loyal and even though it was freezing, they kept pushing us even after the game was pretty much decided. They are a very special factor in our success this year.”
The Maple Leafs concludes the season with a 10-8-2 record and a 4-4-1 mark in the Crossroads League.