Goshen’s men’s soccer team looked to rebound from their disappointing loss last week by stealing a big win against visiting Aquinas College.Aquinas entered the game with a perfect 3-0 season and Goshen aimed to put the first blemish on their record. Despite solid play throughout the game, the Maple Leafs ended up on the losing end of a 3-1 result.
An exciting first half saw the teams trade early chances, but it was Aquinas’ Aldony Mendez, a junior, who found the back of the net first.
At 26 minutes into the game, Mendez redirected a rebound past Goshen’s junior goalie Dean Nafziger, which bounced off a Goshen defender and into the net.
Just minutes later, Mendez collected his second goal of the contest by converting a penalty kick to give Aquinas a 2-0 lead going into half time.
For the second straight game, Goshen found themselves trailing after two unanswered goals just minutes apart. The Maple Leafs entered halftime with a 6-5 lead in shots and a 5-3 edge in corner kicks.
The Leafs regrouped during halftime and four minutes in Joel Yoder, a senior, blasted a shot past Aquinas goalie, Christian Bink, a first-year, to bring the Leafs within a goal and plenty of time left to try for the equalizer.
Yoder’s goal ignited his teammates, who continued to press the attack against the Saints.
“It always feels great to score at home and that’s credit to the fans who create such an energizing atmosphere,” Yoder said. “Though the scope of the game always returns really quickly and it’s right back to work.”
But as the game went on, Aquinas’ play wore down the Maple Leafs began to chase the ball, rather than possess it.
With just over eight minutes to play, Mendez collected a cross from Peter Brandenburg, a junior, and flipped home the game-sealing goal to collect his hat trick.
Despite the final result, Goshen played a solid game and just missed tying the game on several occasions.
“Although we didn’t get the W in the end, we felt as though we did a lot of what we set out to do within the game,” Yoder said. “Aquinas was a tough opponent but we still failed to convert on opportunities that we need to turn in to goals in order to be successful.”
The game was a physical contest, with the two teams combining for 28 fouls and eight yellow cards between them.
In the end, Aquinas outshot Goshen 16 to 12, but the Maple Leafs ended with a 6-5 edge in shots on goal and 6-4 advantage on corner kicks.
Yoder went on to say, “Already at this point in the season we have improved significantly and it has been exciting to play at a higher level with every game. As we continue to improve we expect to reward ourselves with more wins and especially more goals.”