The McPherson College men's soccer team got off to a shaky start on Saturday afternoon against intra-county rival Bethany College, but rallied to defeat the Swedes in overtime.
The Bulldogs, playing in front of the home faithful, did not play well in the opening 45 minutes of action. They mad two uncharacteristic mistakes on defense that led to two first half goals for the visitors. At halftime, Bulldogs' head coach Doug Quint lit a fire under his team and they responded in a big way after the intermission.
They came out and played like a totally different team. Their intensity was up, they were more physical on 50-50 balls, and they were sharper in every aspect of the game. Twelve minutes into the second frame, the Bulldogs finally got on the board. Justus Koehler played corner kick across the six yard box to the far post. Navid Istanbullu elevated, and headed the ball back toward the middle of the goal where Marcus Fernandes slid in and slotted the ball past the Bethany keeper.
Ten minutes later, the Bulldogs struck again this time on a goal by Guido Battistini, on another double assist by Lucas Williams and Fernandes. The Bulldogs kept the pressure on, but were unable to find the game winner in regulation, so they headed into overtime. Just two minutes and 25 seconds into the first overtime session, the Bulldogs found an opening. Fernandes played a ball to Battistini who had made a run in behind the Swedes' defense. Guido then cut the ball back to his left and laid if off for Evariste Abeli, who buried in in the bottom right corner of the goal for the game winner.
Collectively, the Bulldogs took 18 shots to just five for the Swedes, and put had the advantage in shots on goal, 10-2. The Bulldog defense was a stone wall in the second half. The Swedes threatened a few times, but each time the Bulldog back line turned it away. The Swedes ended up with zero shot in the second half.Thomas Kleywegt played the second half in net for the Bulldogs. He didn't face a shot, but picked up the win.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a mid-week trip to Sterling for a match with the Sterling College Warriors. The match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.