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Varsity men’s soccer fighting for playoff berth despite tough losses

(Photo by Colin Madden)

Lucas Lengacher recoils the ball against Bethel College. (Photo by Colin Madden)

Clawing their way to clinch the eighth spot in the conference standings in order to compete in the Crossroads League tournament, the Foresters will have to perform well in their last two conference games of the season in order to top Marian University. Their next test of stamina will be at home against Saint Francis University Oct. 22.

The team is currently 4-11-1.

Playing on the purple and white pitch of Taylor University, the Trojans posted a 3-1 win over the Foresters Oct. 15

Taylor started out on top with Danny Cawley scoring an early goal against the Foresters after dribbling through two defenders, booting a shot past goalkeeper James Couchman. Rocky Byrd will add to that with five minutes remaining off a Wes Shupe assist to put the Trojans up 2-0 at halftime.

The Foresters first scored when sophomore Brooks Gerke sent Ryan “Sosa” Pickup up the field, who in turn would loft the ball over the Taylor goalkeeper just 23 seconds into the second half.

Forester Marcos Salinas credited his team with keeping their heads up going into the second half and believes increased teamwork will help get the team to the conference tournament.

“I believe that the team worked hard for each other to be able to create shooting opportunities,” Salinas said. “We still have to work on being able to break down the other team’s defense so we can have more scoring chances. Keeping our heads up after defeats [is important] because in the end we gave everything we had. Just having the confidence in our ability to win.”

Despite the 3-1 loss to TU, the Foresters, who currently sit ninth in the Crossroads League, gave TU, second only to Indiana Wesleyan University, a message that they were a team to contend with.

“I was pleased with the spirit and fight,” Lawson said. “Against a very solid team, we generated a handful of quality opportunities and had more possession than we have experienced against [Taylor] in recent pasts.”

Although the Foresters were without senior Paul Holliday, out due to a red card from a against Marian University, the Forester configuration showed communication and vision, Lawson said.

“I thought our willingness to communicate with and for each other was great for the most part,” he said. “It starts with James Couchman, moves up through [defenders] Lee Ewen and Sam Thompson on the back line. Our center midfielders not only help shape and pressure the ball but also determine where it needed to go. Ryan Pickup and Isaac Wust had a quality outing, showing and demanding the ball for us up top.”

During the game, Ewen was generating passes to Wust who constantly moved the ball up the field.

“I think the defense was solid,” Ewen said. “Taylor is a very good side, and we competed in every area of the pitch. It’s the small things that make the difference between wining and losing in tight games, and tonight they just edged us in the small things. The scoreboard read 3-1, but I don’t think it was a 3-1 game. They scored two beautifies and their keeper made a couple quality saves, but I think we competed as a team, not only pressing them when they had possession but holding our own in ball possession and chances.”

The Foresters played Indiana Wesleyan University Oct. 18 but could not muster any offense against the conference king, losing 5-0.

 

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