The Goshen College women’s soccer team was back in action last Saturday for a game against Cleary University. The Maple Leafs defeated the Cougars 2-1 in a physical encounter. 

Pregame festivities began the evening with a warm recognition of local fire and police officers at the John Ingold Athletic Complex. The event was organized to honor and recognize the sacrifices that first responders make within communities, and to thank them for this work.

The Maple Leafs were riding a one game winning streak going into the matchup which they were looking to extend by defeating the Cougars on home turf. 

The Maple Leafs and the Cougars drew even after a first half of the scoreless game. The Cougars outshot the Maple Leafs five to four and junior goalkeeper, Kadie Spoor, denied two would-be goals, by the Cougars.

After 13 minutes of play in the second half, the Maple Leafs broke the deadlock. Kaitlyn Begley, a senior, played a through ball to teammate Emie Peterson, a sophomore. Peterson dribbled to ball towards Cleary’s keeper with two Cougars hot on her tail. Peterson 1-on-1 with the keeper, placed the ball into the bottom right corner to put the Maple Leafs up 1-0.

The game continued with both teams battling back and forth. But 20 minutes later, with just over 12 minutes left in the game, Cleary would get on the scoreboard. The Cougars forward Haley Gorzrlski was able to break through the Maple Leafs back line. She drew Spoor out from her line and lobbed the ball into the back of the net to draw the game even.

But Cleary’s celebrations were cut short. In less than three minutes, Bella Larsen, a junior, played the ball to Taliah Borom, a senior, from the right side of the box. Junior Beatriz Meneghin came sprinting from the edge of the box and called Borom off the ball. Borom looked as though she was preparing to take her shot but dummied the defence by letting the ball roll in between her legs to set up Meneghin for the shot. Meneghin stuck the side of the ball to allow it to swerve into the right side of the net. 

The vibrate crowd erupted in cheers at the goal — Meneghin’s second of the season, which is now best for the Maple Leafs. The Cougars would be shut out for the final nine minutes as the Maple Leafs took the ball into the corners in the dying minutes of the game to retain possession and achieve their second straight win.

The Cougars and the Maple Leafs each attempted 11 shots on goal and Spoor would finish the game with four saves. 

With the win over Cleary University, the Maple Leafs advance to 3-2 on the season just two games before their conference opener. 

The men’s team also found success on Saturday as they defeated Roosevelt University 2-0. Sophomore Lucas Bontreger scored for his second straight game for Goshen, and fellow sophomore Kristain Gecaj got his first goal for as a Maple Leaf. The win increased the men’s record to 2-4. 

Both men and women’s soccer will be in action again this weekend. The men’s team will be at home to take on Indiana University Northwest at 7 p.m. The women’s team travel to Ohio, to take on the University of Rio Grande at 3 p.m.