The Bob Jones University men’s soccer team hosted Georgia Gwinnett College Saturday for the 2015 Senior Night, but the Bruins were defeated by the Grizzlies 2-0, to fall to 10-6 on the season.
In the first half, the Grizzlies quickly made their way into the Bruins’ defensive third to earn a corner, but AJ Redlinger easily cleared the cross from danger.
Both teams possessed the ball well early in the match. Bruin senior Ryan McCarty found a strong opportunity with a long dribble toward the goal, but he was stopped by the Grizzlies’ stout defense.
The Grizzlies’ Jon Connor retaliated by taking a shot on goal, but Bruins goalkeeper Philip Gibble easily picked it up and cleared it.
One of the best chances in the first half for the Bruins came just a few minutes later. The Bruins earned a free kick just outside the penalty box, but Matt Moore’s strike was fired straight into the Grizzlies’ wall.
Soon after, Stephen Grider sent a pass to Karl Walker, but Lewis Sharpe, the Grizzlies goalkeeper, stopped Walker’s powerful shot. On the other end, Gibble had an extraordinary first half with five tough saves for the Bruins.
Senior Travis Woodham also had a strong half defensively, as his positioning constantly disrupted the Grizzlies’ offense.
“I was feeling nervous playing for the last time in front of the home crowd,” Ryan McCarty said. “Playing has been a big part of my college life since freshman year.”
At halftime, seniors Daniel Herr, Ryan McCarty, Matt Moore, Travis Woodham and Joseph Wooster were all honored for their dedication to the Bruins and the University.
“There is nothing like playing here at Bob Jones,” Woodham said. “I definitely think we have the best fan base in the nation. We are thankful for their support throughout these four years, and I am grateful for the opportunity to play here.”
Early in the second half, BJU’s Moore was fouled 10 yards beyond the penalty box, but Sharpe stopped Garrett Martin’s free kick. Soon after, the Grizzlies’ Martin Toribio capitalized off a corner kick to put GGC up 1-0.
With 15 minutes left in the half, Andreas Ytterstrom found the ball in the middle of the Bruins’ penalty box and buried it in the back of the net. Despite several counters by the Bruins, the Grizzlies held on to win the match 2-0.
“We needed to be more consistent with the ball movement,” head coach Jesse McCormick said.
“There were moments we were clicking and were on, but those opportunities were coming five or ten minutes apart. We wanted to be a little more dynamic on the attack.”
The Bruins have time to recover, as they will compete in the NCCAA DI South regional tournament Nov. 18-20.