The BJU Bruins traveled two hours to Lawrenceville, Ga., to play the Georgia Gwinnett College Grizzlies Saturday. GGC entered the game undefeated, but BJU was riding a winning streak as the two teams played a physical and fast-paced match. The talented Grizzlies proved too much for the Bruins and came away with the 2-0 victory.
GGC scored early as freshman forward Martin Lugo received a well-timed pass to the middle and shot the ball into the left corner of the goal. The Grizzlies were up 1-0 in the 15th minute and looked to build on their lead. Their offensive pressure was stymied until the 38th minute, when defender Jose Figueroa headed a corner kick from the left wing into the far side of the net.
The Grizzlies’ defense was untouchable throughout the game. “We work a lot on [our defense] throughout the week,” said Greg Hartley, GGC’s goalie. “[My defenders and I] are always communicating so the guys know what they need to do and where they need to be. If you don’t have communication throughout the team, the team’s just going to collapse.”
Hartley was impressed by the fact that BJU held his strikers to a mere two goals. “They came at us,” he said. “You don’t expect that [from a first-year program]. You expect them to sit off and try and read the game, but they really brought it to us.”
Bruins coach Jesse McCormick pointed out some areas the team still needs to work on. “We came out flat, and we can’t do that,” he said. “Our guys have to learn that when they step on the field, they’ve got to play from the time the first whistle blows.” Although Coach McCormick was disappointed by the opening minutes of the game, he said he was impressed by the key play from the reserves. “We had some players come off the bench for us that played very well,” he said.