The opening weekend of the 2017 men's soccer season was one to remember for the Eagles, who earned a first-ever victory over the Royals of Grace University (Omaha, NE).
The game started quickly, with both teams settling in as the Eagles applied early pressure, winning a pair of corner kicks inside 10 minutes. But Grace would claim an early lead, as defender Nick Scholl was left unmarked and fired a rocket from 28 yards into the top corner in the 20th minute.
Emmaus continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded with an equalizer only 8 minutes later as Elijah Barsness's (#1) 55-yard free kick bamboozled Royals keeper Ryan Meyo as it bounced into the net. Halftime came with the game tied at 1 goal apiece.
Emmaus came out of the half strong after a few tactical changes. Sophomore Carson McBain (#11) vacated his normal position of central midfielder for a short stint on the left wing to great effect. Just four minutes into the second half, McBain beat the Royals' fullback to the byline, cut in, and played a perfect lay-off pass to Mason McCarl (So. #9), who slotted home to give Emmaus the 2-1 lead, which would last for the rest of the game.
A flurry of incidents marked the end of the game, most notably a collision between Royals goalkeeper Ryan Meyo and Eagles winger Cullen Tuttle (Fr. #18) that required Tuttle to be carried off the field. Later scans would show Tuttle had broken his tibia, but is expected to make a full recovery.
The Eagles' opening weekend continued the following day with a 3-1 win in the annual alumni scrimmage. A brace from Mason McCarl and a goal from Nick Fairley (So. #9) gave Emmaus a 3 goal lead which looked like it would hold, before the alumni were awarded a penalty with two minutes to play in the game. Brandon Young (2016-2017) converted the penalty to give the alumni a consolation goal. The Eagles' win snaps a three-year alumni win streak and sets the team on the right path for the rest of the season.
Emmaus Men's Soccer is back in action with 5 away games in 8 days, beginning on September 8th at MacMurray College (NCAA III). For live streaming of all Emmaus Men's Soccer games, visit their channel at https://mycujoo.tv/emmaus-bible-college