Three second-half goals lifted the No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team as the Wildcats defeated the St. Francis Cougars by a final score of 4-1 Wednesday, Oct. 15.
The Cougars came in having lost five games in a row, but Interim Head Coach Joe Schulman said he still expected a tough game.
“Being at the top of the conference, everyone is kind of gunning for you and the fact that we’re ranked nationally just accentuates that,” Schulman said. “We definitely expected a battle.”
Wildcat Field was slippery and wet for the contest after a few days of heavy rain. Tyrone Martin (sr) said the less-than-ideal conditions forced the Wildcats to stay disciplined.
“[The conditions] caused us to focus a lot more, concentrate a lot more and just be ready,” Martin said
The Wildcats started the first half lethargically, but took a 1-0 lead into halftime on a goal by Derek Williams (fr) with four minutes to go in the half. Keaton Albert (jr) got the ball past two defenders in the corner to set up Williams’ first collegiate goal.
After a passionate speech from Dylan Bronkema (sr), it was all Wildcats in the second half. The team came out of halftime with much more energy and effort.
“This team’s pretty mature,” Schulman said. “We were able to rally at halftime and really bring significant effort into the second half.”
But the Cougars would not go quietly, tying the game at 1 on a goal from Alexis Ferreira da Silva (jr) that slipped right through goalkeeper Josh Goepper’s (jr) hands. Ferreira da Silva drew boos from the Wildcat faithful after a flashy celebration, sliding through the grass and posing in front of the bleachers.
Martin answered for the Wildcats about 10 minutes later, putting the Wildcats up 2-1. Corey Lopez (jr) weaved the ball through three Cougars defenders to assist Martin on the goal. Four minutes later, Taylor Lehman (jr) headed a pass from Evan Young (so) into the back of the net for the Wildcats’ third goal.
Things heated up when Goepper and Cougar defenseman Alex Fletcher (sr) got tangled up in front of the net and began to shove each other. Fletcher was given a yellow card.
Seth Kintigh (jr) helped the Wildcats pour it on late with a goal assisted by Young, and the Wildcats cruised to a 4-1 victory.
The Wildcats won their 11th straight game and remain in first place in the Crossroads League, with an undefeated league record of 6-0 and overall record of 12-1. Their next game is Saturday, Oct. 18 at home against Huntington University.