HCAC Classic – Spartans, Hanover battle in thriller

HCAC Classic – Spartans, Hanover battle in thriller

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – When the proverbial dust had settled at Good Field Saturday, Sept. 30, there wasn't much differentiating Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foes Manchester University and Hanover College.

The statistics bore out a league opening thriller played before more than 100 appreciative fans. MU held a slight 17-11 edge in overall shots; Hanover edged them 6-4 in shots on goal; and senior goalkeeper Brady Forman (Hastings, Mich.), continuing to impress, battled league-leading goals-against average counterpart Will Bedel tooth and nail five saves to four. However, the main difference was on the scoreboard, showing the visiting Panthers managing a 1-0 extra session win over the Spartans.

A barrage of corner kicks in the overtime turned out to be crucial. After the Black and Gold defense, as they had done all afternoon, knocked away the first three Hanover attempts at set pieces, number four broke the tie. A twisting kick off the foot of Thomas Doering forced a save deep in the box by Forman, and Michael Dumaine cleaned it up, among a rugby scrum, and drove home the game-winning score in the 98th minute.

Despite a second one-goal loss during the week, there were positives for Coach Corey Brueggeman's team (4-6, 0-1 HCAC). Forman and the defense stood sturdy against a strong offense, while the trio of junior midfielder Samuel Tetteh-Quarshie (Accra, Ghana); fellow junior midflelder Ben Niederhelman (Ross, Ohio); and freshman forward Josh Gonzalez (Portage, Ind.) kept the pressure on the opposing defense by each rattling off three shots-or-more.

The Spartans begin two in a row on the road, looking to turn around recent fortunes which have seen them drop five of their last six against a solid gauntlet of opponents. The swing starts Wednesday, Oct. 4, at league rival Anderson University. Kickoff is 3 p.m. at Macholtz Stadium on AU's campus.