Marion, Ind. - It was a picture perfect ending for a gritty Forester men’s soccer team who played spoiler to Indiana Wesleyan University’s homecoming by stealing a 3-2 double overtime road win over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.
After a series of unfortunate events that led to an easy Wesleyan score just four minutes into the match, the Foresters wasted no time letting the large homecoming crowd know they weren’t ready to throw in the towel. Less than five minutes later Kyle Geiss jumped on a Wildcat turnover and played a one-time ball to Todd Canal who ripped it past the keeper to knot things up at 1-1. Indiana Wesleyan answered in the 37th minute to take a 2-1 lead into intermission but it would prove to be a short-lived advantage.
A huge save by HU keeper Drew Mattingly to start the second stanza proved to be a game changer as Matt Hall cleared the ball to Canal who beat two defenders and found the empty net to deadlock the score at 2-2. Both teams clamped down defensively throughout the rest of regulation to force overtime.
Despite being outshot 23-5 through the first 107 minutes of play, the Foresters finally found their golden opportunity three minutes left in the second extra period when Geiss served a ball far post on a corner kick to Wes Johnson who was waiting for the easy game-winning tap in.
“I thought we did a fantastic job of sticking to our game plan,” commented Coach Lawson. “We could have easily hung our heads after giving up a goal in the first five minutes but instead our guys fought back. We showed a lot of spirit and fight.”
Mattingly was credited with the win. He finished with six saves.
With this win, Huntington (4-6-1, 2-1) is in a three-way tie for third in conference play. HU’s last win against the Wildcats dates back to 2004.