The BJU Bruins welcomed the Clearwater Christian Cougars to Alumni Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12, for a rematch of the Oct. 5 contest in Florida. The game boasted 2,200 fans for Alumni Appreciation Night, including a high-energy society-led student section.
The Bruins left the Oct. 5 match frustrated at their 0-1 loss and showed intensity and motivation after a week of focused practices to beat Clearwater 6-0.
The Bruins were electrifying from the start. They created chances from all over the field and overwhelmed the Cougars for the entirety of the game. The Bruins’ early attacks forced the Cougars to attempt their strategy that worked last time: pack the box. But the strategy proved only a temporary obstacle for the Bruins.
In the 32nd minute, Matt Moore breached the Cougar defense to put the Bruins up 1-0. It only took eight more minutes for the Bruins to once again dissect the Cougar defense as freshman Andrew Moisant capitalized and widened the lead to 2-0 in the Bruins’ favor.
The Bruins led at the break with 22 shots on goal to the Cougars’ zero, and halftime didn’t slow them down. The Bruins continued to shell the Cougar goal, and sophomore Ryan McCarty scored goal number three with a bending shot three minutes in. The Bruins continued to dominate as sophomore Matt Moore added his second goal to the game and sophomore Travis Woodham, exemplifying spectacular footwork in the box, created enough space to fire a shot into the back of the net.
The Bruins were not finished yet. With 31 minutes to go, junior defender Ryan Beadles powered a low, far-post shot into the back of the net. BJU retained possession for the final 30 minutes of the game, holding the Cougars to two shots on goal while firing off 33. The final whistle blew, and the Bruins improved to a .500 season in remarkable fashion.
The BJU Bruins did not enjoy the same success against the Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies on Tuesday night, Oct. 15, as the Grizzlies proved a much stronger competitor than the Cougars.
Gwinnett came out with a definitive combination of fast, skilled players and a sense of teamwork and communication that made for a long night for Bruins defenders. The Grizzlies made several drives downfield early in the game, but the Bruins were prepared for this style of play and let the Grizzlies pass around and possess.
“In the first half we played lower pressure to compensate for their athleticism,” senior defender Cody Lehman said. “We put pressure on the vital areas on the field.”
The first goal of the game came off the foot of freshman Eric Moisant. Moore pushed the ball past a defender and Eric Moisant was able to set up and fire a low shot into the back of the net. The Bruins defense held up brilliantly against the aggressive Grizzlies, but Gwinnett finally converted on a corner kick in the 34th minute.
The Grizzlies continued to pressure the goal in the second half and had a number of shots early on. Gwinnett picked apart the Bruins’ backfield throughout the half, scoring three more goals.
“People got tired,” Lehman said. “A few times we misread them, and with their technical ability, they scored.”
The Bruins, now 5-6-1, will take on Columbia International University tonight at 7:30 p.m.