After a disappointing road loss on Thursday evening to Eureka College, the Emmaus men's soccer team played host to the Archers of Moody Bible Institute. The match was the first between the two schools in seven years, but will likely be a regular occurrence as the two teams are now part of the North Central Region of the NCCAA Division 2.
Emmaus had much to prove going into the game as Moody has traditionally been a title contender in the region. From the opening kickoff the Eagles were up to the challenge, putting high pressure on the Archers back line and winning two early corners. Moody caught a break in the 5th minute, however, when their keeper cleared a ball that was misheaded by an Eagle midfielder right into the path of one of Moody's speedy winger Adam Powlus (#7) who managed to get behind the Emmaus defense for the early goal.
Not phased, the Eagles continued to press and had an answer in the 11th minute when Nick Fairley (#9) neatly slotted a bouncing ball over the Moody keeper and into the back of the net. With the score tied at ones, both teams began to settle in, with Moody establishing more possession and Emmaus developing some dangerous counterattacks. Moody finally regained the lead in the 38th minute when Powlus fed a perfect pass to teammate Alek Lewis (#17) who managed to beat Eagle keeper Salinas to the near post. The Archers led 2-1 at the break.
The Eagles came out fired up in the second half and made some adjustments based on injuries in the back line, but it was Moody who added to their lead in the 58th minute when a the Eagles failed to cover the back post on a low cross. Moody's David Ceballos (#8) was there for the tap in. Just five minutes later the Archers struck for a fourth and final time when the Emmaus defense failed to stop another cross that was passed into the back of the net by Moody forward Daniel Miller (#20).
The next few minutes saw both teams battle back and forth, but it was Emmaus who pushed the game into another gear over the final 15 minutes. Senior defender Elijah Barsness (#1) moved up into the attack and won a great ball on the wing which he then fired to the back post from 30 yards out to a waiting teammate, Mason McCarl (#7), whose shot out of the air made the score 4-2. The Eagles continued to press and came close to scoring on several occasions. It was not to be, however, as Moody held on for the road win.
"I am definitely encouraged," said Coach Brown. "Our boys went out and fought hard today and created some great chances. Several of the guys had to step up and adjust to new positions due to in game injuries, and all told we made Moody earn the win today. The better news is that we have some things we can correct from today and our guys should feel like they can compete with anyone in the region. I look forward to seeing how we will play down the stretch!"
The Eagles will play host to the Faith Baptist Bible College Eagles on Tuesday in their fifth and final regular season conference matchup. Faith bested the Eagles early on in the season, but the Emmaus men are chomping at the bit for the rematch. Kickoff is set for 3:30.