The McPherson College men's soccer team hosted the Bethel College Threshers on Wednesday afternoon in the early match. The Bulldogs turned out to be a gracious hosts, allowing the Threshers to leave Paul Family Field with a 3-2 victory.
The teams were evenly matched with a slight edge going in the Bulldogs' favor, but the Mac men seemed to struggle with their focus early on in the game, which led to a Thresher goal in the 17th minute of action. One of the Bulldog defenders misplayed a ball on the back line, and a Thresher forward took advantage of the miscue and slotted the first goal of the game.
The Threshers would maintain the lead for the remainder of the opening half, and for the first six minutes of the second frame. In the 51st minute, Giovanni Chavarri took a shot from the right wing the Thresher keeper made the initial save, but on the rebound, Alex Marca was there to bury the ball in the back of the net.
Four minutes later on a counter attack, the Threshers went 3-2 against the Bulldogs on a breakaway. They played a ball through into the corner, and the player receiving the ball appeared to be in an offside position, but the assistant referee was trailing the play and did not raise his flag. The Thresher attacker served the ball across the six yard box where a teammate was waiting to head the ball in.
Forced to play from behind again, the Bulldogs responded with header goal of their own. This time in the 70th minute, Guido Battastini took a ball that was around his shoulders and served it near the penalty spot where Marcus Fernandes was camped out ready to head the ball past the Thresher keeper.
With time running down, a soft foul call in the Bulldogs' defensive third resulted in a free kick for Bethel. One of the Thresher captains served the ball into the 18 yard box, and it wasn't clear if another Bethel player flicked the ball with his head, or a Bulldog defender got a head on it as it came in, but the ball found deflected to Bethel's Luke Darwent, and he volleyed the ball into the left side netting to put his team back up by one, 3-2 with two and a half minutes remaining in regulation.
The Bulldogs tried to generate a late opportunity for a third equalizer but to no avail. The clock hit full time and the Threshers escaped with a 3-2 victory. Thomas Kleywegt was in goal for the Bulldogs. He faced seven shots on goal, stopping four of them in the loss.
The Bulldogs, now 5-6 on the year and 3-3 in KCAC play, will try and bounce back on Saturday when they take on intra-county rival Bethany College at home, starting at 1 p.m.