Bruins men’s soccer commenced offseason friendlies on Saturday afternoon by inviting the Southern Wesleyan University Warriors and the Greenville Eagles to campus for back-to-back scrimmages at Alumni Stadium.
The Warriors, the Bruins’ opponents from last August’s inaugural match, did not have the same offensive success against BJU that they had the first time the teams met.
Both teams exhibited sloppy play throughout the first half, something to be expected in the first game since November.
But the Bruins did not allow SWU to score in the first half, thanks to a quick save by junior goalkeeper Cam Lawson midway through the first half.
Unfortunately, the Warriors’ goalie also came up with a great save to hold the tie at 0-0 when Bruins junior forward Mark Sterr returned a shot at SWU’s goal, and the first half ended scoreless.
The Bruins had the first close call in the second half with a roller across the goalmouth from Bruins sophomore forward Travis Woodham, but the deciding goal came 20 minutes in from SWU.
Junior midfielder Cody Lehman nearly evened the score with a header, but it sailed just over the crossbar. Unable to find the goal despite quality looks, the Bruins let the first game slip 1-0.
BJU was much sharper against the Greenville Eagles and looked much more like the squad from late fall. The Bruins held the Eagles at bay but were unable to capitalize on some good offensive opportunities and the usual pressure of Sterr, leaving the first half at 0-0.
The Bruins possessed the ball for large portions of the second half and brought intense pressure, but the offense kept coming up short.
The Eagles were able to sneak a bouncing shot past senior goalkeeper John Wiser to make the score 1-0, and the Bruins never answered, although they had several opportunities.
Despite the losses, the Bruins looked good in their spring debut and are retaining most of the inaugural team.
The defense played well throughout the afternoon, and the offense generated plenty of chances and has only to shake off the remaining off-season rust to score.