NORTH NEWTON—The Central Christian College men's soccer team remained perfect on the season, pushing their record to 3-0 with a 3-1 victory, on the road, over the Bethel College Threshers.
The Tigers did all of their damage in the opening 45 minutes, scoring all three of their goals, and then held on in the second half to complete the win. Antonio Ramirez-Villa picked up his third win of the season between the pipes. He went the distance, giving up just one goal while coming up with four saves on the night.
It was a pretty even night, at least in the shots column, though the Tigers seemed to control most of the possession for much of the game. Central had a slight advantage in total shots, 14-12 and also in shots on goal, 7-5. As many athletic competitions do, this contest got a little bit chippy at times, but altogether it was a relatively clean contest. In the end, the center referee handed out just four cards, two to each side. The Tigers were shown yellow cards twice, while the Threshers had a yellow and a red. The red card was given to a Bethel player who grabbed one of the Tigers' jerseys while he was one on one with the keeper.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the 13th minute of the game. Freshman Leslie Feh put the Tigers on the board on a double assist by Juan Adrian-Lopez and Matias Nunez. The Tigers' second goal came 13 minutes later when Nunez took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Threshers and slotted a goal past the keeper. In the 36th minute of the half, it was Feh again, getting his second goal of the game. Like Nunez's goal, Feh's second goal came on a mistake by the Threshers in their defensive third.
In the second half, the Tigers played a little loose in the opening minutes of the set. Just five minutes into the half, a mistake by the Tiger defense led to a break away for the Threshers. They made the most of it, cutting the lead to 3-1. A couple of minutes later, another lapse by the Tiger defense led to another breakaway for the Threshers' front line. Fortunately for the Tigers the shot by the Bethel striker just missed. The Tigers seemed to get the message, and the rest of the way, they shored things up defensively and held onto for the win 3-1.
"I think we were ok in the first half," said Central head coach Aaron Hoxie. "Obviously, we scored three goals, but how we scored was a bit of fortune, I'll admit. However, our attacking players were in the right positions and their pressure probably had something to do with the mistakes. But we still needed a finish at the end."
Hoxie continued, "Obviously, there's comfort being up three at half. Credit to Bethel for raising their level, but I think we showed our youth. We allowed them to creep back into the game, and by the end, it was clearly a 50-50 match, and maybe a little more in their favor. We did continue to work hard, but, our attitudes were a little immature, we became careless with the ball, and predictable. Time is the only way to gain experience and we just got to ride that wave. That being said, I'll take 3-0, with 3 road wins!"
Now at 3-0 to start the year, the Tigers will take their perfect record into their home opener this Friday night against Presentation College. Game time on Friday is slated for 5:30 pm.