BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- The Montreat College men's soccer team (2-0-1, 1-0-0 AAC) upset Milligan, 2-0 on Wednesday evening at Howard Fisher Memorial Field as the Cavaliers opened AAC play with a win for the first time since 2009 and avenged three straight losses to the Buffaloes.
"Tonight we struggled to find ourselves at times but the boys battled and earned a hard-fought win," said Head CoachDavid Knapp. "We scored two early goals that put us into position to win and the guys came through defensively to secure the victory."
Nine minutes into the match things began to heat-up as Ryan Buick was issued a yellow card following a challenge that sent the Banbury, England, native out of the match with an injury.
Following the stoppage Ezra White entered the match replacing the Oxford Academy alum and infused his energy into the Cavaliers.
Following a pair of corner kicks bookended by a pair of Milligan shots Gavin Kneeshaw attempted the Cavaliers first shot of the match at the 16:50 mark but the shot sailed wide by the Edinburgh, Scotland, native.
Lewis Jones latched onto a shot but Dan Bell stood tall and stopped the Liverpool, England, native's attempt as the score remained deadlocked at 0-0.
As the Cavaliers continued to build the attack it was an offside flag that kept Benjamin Lloyd from breaking in on the Buffaloes goal in the 18th minute.
Two minutes later Daniel Wolf received the ball at the top of the Milligan penalty area where he combined withGavin Kneeshaw who slipped the Marburg, Germany, native through the Milligan defense and Wolf made simple work to convert his second goal of the season as Montreat moved in front, 1-0 over the reigning back-to-back Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season champions.
Milligan (1-4-0, 1-1-0 AAC) was picked to finish third behind Tennessee Wesleyan and Bryan in the 2013 AAC Preseason Coaches' Poll was coming off a 2-1 loss to then ranked No. 21 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches Poll Southern Wesleyan on Saturday saw things turn from bad to worse when pressure by Ezra White forced a turnover by a Milligan defender 25 yards from his own goal. The Aiea, Hawaii, native burst toward the Buffalo goal where he found Benjamin Lloyd who slipped in his second goal in as many games giving Montreat a 2-0 lead at the 17:26 mark.
The opening 45 minutes came to a close with Montreat holding a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard as the two teams were level in shots (6), Milligan held a 2-0 lead in corner kicks.
A testy second half ensued following the break as 12 fouls were whistled that included three yellow card cautions.
Montreat began to find its attacking rhythm as the Buffaloes pushed to cut the deficit.
Dylan MacFarlane combined with Lewis Jones on the right wing that put the Somerset West, South Africa, native into the box. As MacFarlane cut inside the box two Milligan defenders crossed the 6-foot-0 midfielder's path causing him to crash to the pitch in what looked to be a sure penalty but play continued with 22 minutes remaining in the match.
Shots by Bruce Olivier and Andre Ottoni in the 68th and 70th minute were saved with ease by Lucas Carvalho as the Joao Pessoa, Brazil, native maintained the Cavaliers clean sheet.
The defense of Cody LaBelle, Silas Alves, Stefan Cazzonelli, and Vijay Godhania locked down the Buffalo attack as the Cavaliers prevented Milligan from taking a shot through the final 20 minutes of the match as Montreat defeated Milligan 2-0.
With the 5-foot-4 Godhania winning every header and the 6-foot-3 Cazzonelli cleaning up the scraps the defense forced Milligan into six offside calls and limited Milligan to just six shot on target.
Montreat's victory over Milligan marks their first win since Nov. 13, 2009 and the 2-0 shutout is the first multiple goal shutout against Milligan in program history.
Montreat hits the road as the Cavaliers head to Franklin Springs, Ga., to face Emmanuel College on Saturday, Sept. 14 with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. as Montreat will be in search of their first four game undefeated streak to start a season in modern history when they face the Lions who they hold an all-time mark of 6-1-0 in modern history.