NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A rock solid defensive back line spotlighted a determined effort from Manchester University Wednesday, Sept. 20.
Over 100 appreciative fans got their money's worth plus some in an intersectional battle between the Spartans and United Soccer Coaches' Division III Great Lakes region No. 6-ranked Ohio Northern. In the face of an 18-10 overall shots disadvantage and eight to one deficit in shots on goal, the Black and Gold gave their guests all they could handle on a sweltering late September evening, falling by just a single goal.
Senior goalkeeper Brady Forman (Hastings, Mich.) repelled six Polar Bear attempts at the home team net over the first 45 minutes. ONU's Dylan Plank, his counterpart, had business to attend to as well with one shot try knocked away to keep the halftime score knotted at zero. The Good Field scoreboard remained clean in the second stanza, too, until the visitors broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, as J.J. Fortner tallied his fifth goal with a high strike that nicked the crossbar but held firm in the upper right hand corner for a 1-0 score.
MU pushed hard for the equalizer over the final 19-plus minutes with the best try coming from junior midfielder Nate Johnson (Portage, Ind.). He got a ball inside the box in front of Ohio Northern's net and hit a bullet that struck the left post and rattled out.
The Spartans (3-4) finished with three individuals tallying two-or-more shot chances. Freshman forward Josh Gonzalez (Portage, Ind.) led the way with three, and senior midfielder Travis Richardson (Elizabethtown, Ky.) and junior midfielder Samuel Tetteh-Quarshie (Accra, Ghana) adding two apiece.
Coach Corey Brueggeman's squad resumes a stretch of back-to-back home dates Sunday, Sept. 24. Kickoff against in-state non-conference foe DePauw University is 3 p.m.