NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University head men’s soccer coach Dave Good saw glimpses of potential in his team’s 2013 season opener Aug. 31. However, he and his staff received an intense effort from the Spartans that led to a 1-1, double overtime tie against Principia College of Illinois Friday, Sept. 6.
“We were disappointed with the way we came out last week (against Concordia University of Illinois),” he said. “It was a point of emphasis to try and get some energy into our game this week. We saw some strong results from that tonight.”
MU, moving to 0-1-1, battled a Principia squad, fresh off back-to-back shutouts of Millikin University and Monmouth College of Illinois, to 110 minutes of thrilling soccer. The two sides were nearly dead even throughout, as the Black and Gold held a slim 12-11 shots lead and had one more corner kick opportunity (5-4).
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, the visitors broke up the tie with a goal from the left side of the box by junior midfielder Nate Waters in the 54th minute. Waters took a ball in midair and lofted it just out of the reach of MU sophomore goalkeeper Craig Thacker (Lebanon, Ind.) into the upper right corner. Principia held the lead until an aggressive Spartan offense, which had been on the attack for the previous 10 minutes, finally got a ball in front of their opponents’ net. Senior midfielder/forward Connor Seaver (Auburn, Ind.) dropped a pass to junior midfielder Zac Hansen (Muskegon, Mich.) in the 87th minute, which Hansen drove past the Principia goalkeeper into the left side of the net for the tie.
Manchester University continued to move the ball well up the field over the final two-plus minutes of regulation and throughout the 20 minutes of two overtimes. However, the visiting defense kept their net clean to preserve the draw.
“We just couldn’t finish some really good opportunities down the stretch,” Good said. “Overall though, I am very pleased with the effort, especially the intensity we brought.
“Our defense played the best it has to date this season,” he added. “So many people contributed to this. Obviously, we would have liked the win, but we showed a lot of positives.”
Looking further into the statistics, Thacker registered four saves to top the defense. Hansen’s three shot attempts led the offense.
MU continues a season-opening three-match home stand Saturday, Sept. 7, when Kentucky Christian University visits Spartan Field for a 3:30 p.m. start.