The BJU Bruins intercollegiate men’s soccer team closed out last week with two games, one on Thursday night against the Bears from Truett-McConnell and one on Saturday against the Clearwater Christian College Cougars.
The Bruins entered Thursday’s game with energy from back-to-back shutouts. The Bruins defense had been providing resilient protection for goalkeeper Joseph Wooster, and the team would need this strong asset to continue its progress. Both Truett-McConnell and the Bruins came out with electric intensity, and both teams created multiple opportunities.
It was Cody Brown of Truett-McConnell, however, who provided the first and only goal of the first half.
The Bruins were not deterred by this slight setback. It took 21 seconds for them to work a clever possession up the field, slip the ball through to sophomore Matt Moore, and capitalize to make the game 1-1. But despite several more near-goals in the second half, the Bruins were unable to score again, and regulation ended as a 1-1 tie.
Golden Goal overtime ensued, and both teams’ defense proved victorious as neither the Bruins nor the Bears were able to execute on any opportunities. The Bruins and the Bears were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Saturday, the Bruins headed to Florida to take on the Clearwater Cougars. Last year, the Bruins were able to defeat the Cougars with a comfortable 5-0 win. This Saturday wasn’t as comfortable.
“We came out sloppy on Saturday. We just didn’t play the soccer that we know how to play,” captain David Overly said.
The first half seemed to overwhelm the Bruins as they were faced with both hot Florida weather and a physical Cougar team. Late in the second half, the Cougars ripped a hard shot on target. Junior Joseph Wooster was able to get his hands on it, but the ball snuck across the goal line, giving the Cougars a 1-0 halftime lead.
“We were able to create chances in the second half, but we couldn’t capitalize on any of them,” Overly said. “We played better the second half, but it still wasn’t our best showing.” The Cougars defense packed the box, making it nearly impossible for the Bruins to progress up the field. BJU’s offense didn’t give up, but four shots clattered off the crossbar and shattered the Bruins’ hopes. Clearwater held on for the 1-0 win.
The Bruins are now 4-5-1 this season, but look to improve their record on Saturday in a rematch at home against Clearwater.