The men’s soccer team came away with the win Saturday night as they faced off against Taylor University in the Crossroads League Semi-Finals. The final score was 1-0 as senior Joel Yoder scored his second goal of playoffs. Yoder scored against Mount Vernon Nazarene University with five minutes left to play sending the Leafs into overtime in the opening round of tournament play. Against Taylor, Yoder was able to find the back of the net again with 20 minutes remaining in the second half.The first half of play was evenly matched as Goshen had five chances on net and Taylor would contend with six. The second half proved to be a different story as the Trojans outshot the Maple Leafs nine to three. The Leafs found themselves in prime scoring position when Yoder sent the ball flying from his left foot from the corner of the 18 yard box.
“When I saw the ball hit the back of the net at Taylor my mindset changed from we’ve got a shot, to we’re going to win this game,” Yoder said.
Yoder was not the only star of the game. Goalkeeper Dean Nafziger, a junior, knew that it would be a bumpy ride to the finish.
“After the initial excitement of the goal, I knew that it was going to be a fight to keep them from scoring. They were a really good offensive team and I knew that they were going to give it their all. That 20 minutes felt like an hour,” Nafziger said.
In an interview with Sports Information, head coach Arron Patrick said, “This is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had in sports. Seeing the faces of these seniors is amazing. I told them that we could have a special year if they buy in and trust the process. To their credit, they have done that and we are now seeing the rewards.”
When the clock hit zero the Goshen fans rushed the field to congratulate the already excited players on their victory. This will be the first time since 2007 that the Maple Leafs will play in the conference championship game. In 2007 the Maple Leafs faced off against the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats in Marion and lost the match 3-2. On Saturday, Nov. 15 the maple leafs will, once again, face off against IWU in Marion, Indiana. Kick off is set for 6 p.m.