Senior James Handtke steps in while attempting to gain ball possession. Handtke scored the Foresters' lone goal in their 2-1 loss Saturday. (Photo by Jac Rhine)
Senior James Handtke steps in while attempting to gain ball possession. Handtke scored the Foresters’ lone goal in their 2-1 loss Saturday. (Photo by Jac Rhine)

The men’s soccer team came out kicking against Siena Heights University, but the Saints pulled off a painfully close 2-1 win Sept. 13. The Foresters are now 5-1.

With a cluster of Forester offense in the Saints’ back half, senior James Handtke scored the first goal for the Foresters with assists by Brooks Smith and Lee Ewen.

Head coach Russ Lawson was pleased with the results of the change in the offensive formation.

“With the guys coming into the lineup, they’ve been showing well and definitely earned their minutes today,” he said. “I thought they performed well. This is a game where we possessed well in and around [the opposition’s goal]. We were versatile in our attack so we weren’t just one-dimensional. There was far more composure today in this game than on Wednesday.”

Playing with aggression, several young players gave solid performances. Most notable would be freshman Troy Hester, goal keeper, who registered four saves for the day in his home debut.

“It’s incredible,” Hester said. “[Playing soccer] is why I came [to HU]. I’m happy to have worked hard and earned my starting position.”

Siena Heights would force Hester to come up with several strong saves before Clayton Tomczyk would score the equalizer for SHU with eight minutes left in the match.

Sophomore Scott Murray would receive a double yellow equating a red card and was subsequently sent off the field. This along with SHU starting to find its rhythm left the team scrambling to prevent any more goals.

“[Playing a man down] puts the team under,” he said. “With that being said, I couldn’t be much prouder of the boys in the second half. For large portions of that half, you couldn’t tell who was up a man, who was down a man. That is a direct result of the players’ will and character and fight. It went all the way to the end. We had two opportunities in the box with under a minute to go.”

The Saint scored their second goal when Hester was caught out of the goal on a defensive blunder.

Despite out-shooting the Saints 12-10 and putting up a commendable hustle, the Foresters now fall to 1-5.

“[Today] was a great challenge,” captain Tyson Kalischuk, junior, said. “Our team has been struggling recently with results, but today showed us the intensity that’s needed to be productive and to win. We didn’t get the result today, but we’ve seen what it will take for us to be successful in the future.”

Lawson said Saturday’s game was a learning experience.

“It’s definitely a performance that we can build off of,” he said. “It’s just disappointing that we keep having these breakdowns. They’re soft goals that we’re giving up. If we can eliminate those breakdowns and focus on execution of a skill and technique, I feel we can definitely build and get on a good run.”

The team’s next match is Sept. 17 at Manchester University.