The Goshen men’s soccer team looked to carry the momentum from their 500th career win into a victory in the home opener on Saturday, but saw those aspirations disappear in a matter of minutes as the Lawrence Tech Blue Devils struck twice in the 2nd half.The Maple Leafs headed to halftime in a scoreless draw despite dominating play for the first 45 minutes. A lightening delay forced a 30 minute halftime and a healthy dose of rain fell on the fans brave enough to wait out the weather.
Once the teams returned to the field, play was as hectic as the downpour that had taken place just a few minutes earlier.
Goshen picked up right where they had left off at the end of the first half, pressuring Lawrence with a string of corner kicks early on. On the third successive corner, a scramble in front of the Blue Devils net ended with Goshen’s Caleb Longenecker, a senior, ripping a shot into the net to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead.
While most of Goshen’s fans were still celebrating, Lawrence Tech responded with a vengeance. Just 28 seconds later, Chris Sadocha, a junior, finished off a cross from fellow junior Chris Lange, which left the Maple Leaf fans stunned, and the score even at 1-1.
The Blue Devils capitalized on the sudden momentum swing by attacking the Goshen goal from every angle until a Lawrence player was fouled in the box.
Justin Ritchey, a senior, placed the penalty kick into the bottom corner of the net. This gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the evening, and concluded a frenzied 4 minutes of play.
Goshen regrouped and fought hard to find the equalizing goal. Despite their best efforts, the Maple Leafs couldn’t get that final bounce to go their way.
Even with 11 shots in the second half, only Longenecker’s goal was on target, making life too easy for Blue Devils’ goalkeeper Joey Knoff in the final 30+ minutes. Goshen outshot the Blue Devils 19-12 and had a 9-2 advantage on corner kicks, but they were unable to find the back of the net.
Two first-years, Mark Kreider and Brodie Nofziger, were members of the starting lineup on Saturday. This Saturday we look to see if the Leafs can raise their record to 2-1 in Goshen’s next match when they will host Aquinas College.