The Goshen College men’s soccer team was able to pick up their first conference win of the season on Saturday against the Marian Knights, winning the game 3-1 during Homecoming weekend. The women fell 3-0 to the nationally-ranked team.

The Maple Leafs were aggressive from the start in this game, looking to capitalize early against Marian. The front line of Stuart Aeschliman, a junior, Lucas Bontreger, a sophomore, and Kristian Gecaj, also a sophomore, was persistent, attacking the back line of the Knights’ defense. 

In the 13th minute, a foul on a Knight defender would draw the Maple Leafs a set piece atop the 18-yard box about seven yards back. Henrique Eichenberger, a sophomore, would send in a rocket into the back net for a 1-0 Maple Leaf advantage.

The Knights’ offense struggled for the early stages of the first half. They were unable to apply any pressure on goalkeeper Tomas Fonseca for the first 21 minutes of the match. 

By the end of the first half, the Knights had taken six shots and three corner kicks. But the Maple Leafs backline of defense had kept them off the scoreboard before the break. 

Goshen was able to outshoot the Knights by three in the first half even without registering a corner kick. Both teams left the field with the Maple Leafs leading 1-0.

In the second half, the Maple Leafs dominated the Knights early on. In the 49th minute, Christian Saleh, a sophomore, was set up for a goal off of a shot by Aeschliman. Aeschliman’s shot was deflected right to Saleh, who was able to slot it into the back of the net. 

The Maple Leafs grew their lead by two, but the Knights weren’t going down without a fight. Just nine minutes later, Marian’s Elijah Zorniger cleaned up a loose ball in the box to find the goal and reduce the lead to one. 

In the 88th minute, Bontreger earned himself his eighth goal of the season closing out the game with a 3-1 victory in favor of the Maple Leafs and giving them their first conference win.

The women’s team had traveled to Marian University earlier that day to take on the 16th-ranked Knights for a midday kickoff. 

Goshen held the top-25 team to a scoreless first half. The Knights dominated the Maple Leafs offensively with 17 shot attempts compared to Goshen’s one. But the Maple Leafs kept the game scoreless for nearly 70 minutes of play.  

In the 68th minute, the referee deemed a Goshen handball in the box and pointed to the penalty spot. The penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Katie Baer, a junior, but Marian’s Siera Stuart followed up the shot to give the Knights a one-goal lead. 

The quick-striking Knights offense would score another goal one minute later, doubling their lead to two. 

The Maple Leafs were able to hold off the Knights for another 11 minutes before they netted their third goal in the 80th minute, putting the game to rest. 

The 16th-ranked Knights defeated the Maple Leafs 3-0. Baer made six saves and Goshen’s lone shot attempt came from Paige Renshaw, a junior, in the first half.

Each team is back in action on Saturday against Huntington University. The men will travel to take on the Foresters with kick-off at 4 p.m., while the women will host the Foresters for a later kick-off at 7:30 p.m. The women’s match-up is also the Maple Leafs senior night.