The last ten minutes of the Foresters’ game against Saint Francis University Oct. 22 haunted them as Cougar Neil Chalupa would find the back of the net with 10 minutes left in the match to allow the Cougars to slip past the Foresters 1-0.
After two major losses to Crossroads League kingpins, Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University, the Foresters desperately needed a win in its last home game of the season to continue to win a bid in the conference tourney. The Foresters are now 4-12 on the season.
Coming out strong, the Foresters outshot the Cougars 9-5 in the first half. Sophomore Isaac Wust and junior Joey Newberry worked the Cougar backhalf with Wust tallying five shots with four shots on goal.
Andrew Wust, assistant head coach, who spoke on behalf of head coach Russ Lawson, said the team did well with the aspect of switching the field.
“What the guys did really well with is cycling the ball,” he said. “One of the things we’ve done well is working on the point of attack.”
Play was evenly matched as Saint Francis forward Mitchell Holloway had a near header, with the ball just missing the goal. Teammate Steven Johnson would nearly place his shot past Forester goalkeeper James Couchman as the ball deflected off the lower left corner. Couchman registered two saves in the loss.
The half ended in a 0-0 stalemate, despite a last minute bicycle-kick attempt by Wust against Cougar keeper Brad Buzzard. Buzzard’s performance was a big part of St. Francis’ success as he posted six saves for the day.
The second half saw the Cougars finally breaking through and scoring the winning goal.
The team’s loss was especially hard on the seniors in their last home game of their college career.
“Sam [Thompson] with his leadership in the center-back role has really helped with his communication and guiding our [backline] defensively,” Wust said. “Both Phil and Paul are dynamic – Paul [Holliday] more attack minded and Phil [Holliday] on the defense. With them being brothers they seem to connect very well on that right side. James Handtke, being our holding midfielder, has progressed over the years. That holding mid is a key position on our team not only does the play move through him, but he has to be a brick wall essentially, the first line of defense.”
The Foresters will play their final game of the regular season against Goshen College at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.