The McPherson College men's soccer team improved to 2-1 on the young season, with a 5-2 win in their home opener against the Doane University Tigers.
The Bulldogs and Tigers met out on the natural grass of the Kennel, which is about 10 yards wider than the turf of McPherson Stadium, allowing the Bulldogs to play a little different style of play, spreading the field out and focusing on possessing the ball and building their attack out of the back.
Aside from a couple of mental mistakes, the Bulldogs dominated play against the Tigers. They took an early lead when Sean Thomson found the back of the net on a header on a corner kick served in by Carlos Reyna in the 21st minute. Three minutes later a mental miscue by the Bulldog defense allowed the Tigers to slot the equalizer.
The Bulldogs retook the lead in the 28th minute when Evariste Abeli, who was cleared by the NAIA eligibility clearing house this week, scored his first career goal in his first collegiate game. He took a ball on the left side, took a couple of dribbles across the 18 yard box and slotted a beautiful shot in the upper 90 just out of the reach of the Tiger goal keeper.
Just when they had regained the momentum, the Bulldogs made another mental blunder and allowed the Tigers to tie the game up once again. Despite dominating the first 45 minutes of action, the Bulldogs went into the halftime intermission tied at two.
Bulldogs Head coach Doug Quint's halftime speech worked, and the Bulldogs came out with more focus and intensity. They retook the lead twelve minutes into the second frame on a goal from Reyna, assisted by Guido Battisini. 25 minutes later, Thomson put the Bulldogs up 4-2 with his second goal of the game. Alex Marca took the initial shot, but it was saved by the Tigers' goalkeeper. Fortunately for Thomson, the ball came right to him, and he buried it in the back of the net. Late in the game, Battisini, who was celebrating his birthday on Saturday, picked up a loose ball and put the game away, scoring his second goal of the season.
"I loved the response our team showed when faced with adversity today," Quint said. "We really came together and had a great second half. Very proud of how we finished!"
The Bulldogs will get a big test on Wednesday when they host the Concordia University Bulldogs at McPherson Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Concordia knocked off nationally ranked Mid-America Nazarene University on Saturday.