Calvin Mangunda, a senior, scored on a rebound from Ollie Smith, a freshman, en route to Goshen College’s second consecutive win, a 1-0 Crossroads League men’s soccer victory over Grace College Saturday evening on the road at 1st Source Bank Field.In the 26th minute, the continued offensive pressure from the Maple Leafs paid off as Smith saw his shot from the right side of the penalty area saved and the rebound popped up to the top of the six-yard box. Mangunda was the first player to get a touch, as he rocketed the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The goal is Mangunda’s first of the season while the assist was the second of the year for Smith, who leads the team with 12 points.
Going into the halftime break, Grace (7-7-3, 2-6-1) held a 7-3 shot advantage and took all four corner kicks in the first 45 minutes, but it was Goshen leading on the scoreboard, 1-0.
While the Maple Leafs (6-6-5, 3-3-2) had plenty of opportunities to double their lead in the second half, it was junior Ari Benjamin who came the closest to accomplishing that feat. High defensive pressure paid off as a clearance bounced off of the forward’s chest to his feet; however, the ensuing shot hit off the woodwork and ricocheted out of play.
The Lancers entered the game needing a win for their chances of postseason play to stay alive, but instead found a Maple Leaf back line that was ready for anything Grace threw forward. Numerous free kicks and corner kicks down the stretch provided ample opportunities for the Lancers; however, sophomore goalkeeper Johan Escalante recorded five saves in the final 45 minutes to keep the clean sheet.
The shutout was Goshen’s third in a row; the Maple Leafs finish CL play with four clean sheets, the second-most in team history, trailing only the 2004 side. Saturday night marked the first time since Oct. 3, 2008 that GC posted its third straight clean sheet.
Grace finished with 17 shots on the evening and took all seven of the game’s corner kicks. Goshen tallied seven shots and Escalante finished with eight saves in his sixth shutout this season for the Maple Leafs.
With the win, Goshen wraps up the regular season in fifth place in the conference at 4-3-2, earning the most league points (14) since the 2011 team went 5-4 in what was still known as the Mid-Central College Conference.
The Maple Leafs will play in a Crossroads League tournament quarterfinal this Saturday when they travel to Huntington University for a matchup between the fourth and fifth place teams; Goshen won 2-1 in the regular season on Oct. 1 at GC. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.