FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s soccer team got a late start on Saturday night after rain and lightning delayed the men’s and women’s games by about 40 minutes. That didn’t stop the Warriors from getting their first conference win of 2019.
The Warriors (5-3-1 overall, 1-1 GPAC) controlled the majority of the game against the Mount Marty Lancers (2-5 overall, 1-2 GPAC) and came away with a 2-0 victory. It wasn’t easy, though, as the Lancers made the Warriors work in the slick conditions.
“The end goal in every conference game is to get three points,” said Midland head coach Raphael Martinez. “It doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or ugly, they all count the same. Ideally you’d like to play pretty, but Mount Marty had a game plan and frustrated us with their defense.”
Midland got started quickly as freshman Diego Konincks found the net on the first shot attempt of the game on a pass from senior Robert Wiseman. It’s the first collegiate goal for the freshman midfielder.
The Warriors rattled off eight more shots in the first half by couldn’t manage to find the net, thanks in part to three saves made by Lancer keeper Gabriel Ivlev. Midland kept possession of the ball for seemingly the entire period and didn’t allow a single Lancer shot attempt, leading to a 1-0 halftime lead.
Mount Marty came out in the second half and managed to play with some more energy and fire five shots at the Midland defense. Freshman keeper Matthew Ricci made a pair of saves in the second half to keep the Lancers off the board.
The conditions played a role in the second half as both teams seemed to struggle with keeping possession. The slippery Heedum Field turf made footing difficult, especially as the balls continued to get wet and slick. Neither team could get fully organized for long periods of time.
Midland managed to regroup late in regulation and add an insurance goal from freshman forward Mike Ejgendaal, the first of his collegiate career. After a pass sailed over the box to the far side of the field, a quick pass from sophomore Thomas Crawford found Ejgendaal in front of the net for a quick shot at the goal.
“It’s great to see two freshmen on the scoresheet,” Martinez said. “We are in a crucial part of the season where we need different players to step up in different games, and you saw that tonight.”
It was not the cleanest win of the season for the Warriors, but they got the job done nonetheless and secured their first conference win. It’s important for the leaders to continue to serve in those roles, but other plays also have to emerge if the Warriors want to keep it rolling.
“Hopefully it continues into Wednesday as Morningside will be an important conference game for us,” Martinez said.
The Warriors are back in action on Wednesday, October 2, when they take on (RV) Morningside College in Sioux City at 8:00 p.m. Midland is back in Fremont on Saturday, October 5, for a 7:30 p.m. start versus Dakota Wesleyan on Homecoming.