Manchester University looks to continue its recent upward swing Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Match details: Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. at Good Field on MU's campus … Live audio, stats and video can be accessed via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … Coach Corey Brueggeman's Spartans (6-8 overall, 2-4 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) grabbed the attention of the league, region and much of NCAA Division III with a stirring 1-0 double-overtime win over United States Soccer Coach No. 20-ranked Transylvania University Oct. 14 to complete a 2-0 week. Defiance, coached by Jordan Valentine, stands 6-6-2 overall and 2-3 in the conference … Recent series history is in favor of MU with five wins and no losses in the previous six meetings. Defiance did forge a 2-2, double-overtime tie last fall at home.
Spartan Shorts: A gritty group of Spartans registered a signature moment Oct. 14. With a crowd of better than 200 fans hanging on every possession, shot attempt and save over more than 103 minutes of an HCAC thriller, it was freshman forward Josh Gonzalez (Portage, Ind.) who put a bow on a defining win for the program. Taking a pass from junior forward Drake DeWitt (Columbia City, Ind.) just outside Transylvania University's goal box, he slipped past a defender and hit the perfect strike that deftly sailed over the head of Pioneers' netminder Drew Grishman and just under the crossbar for the winner in double overtime. "I told the guys they could find pockets of space (on the pitch)," an elated Coach Brueggeman said. "Drake and Josh played the ball together beautifully, and Josh hit a great shot. Wow … what a win. There may have been some writing us off in the conference after the way things started. This gives us so much momentum moving forward." … One may ask what Gonzalez' fourth score of the season did from a historical perspective. It sent Transylvania to their first loss overall and league play and gave the Black and Gold a win over a NCAA Division III top 20-ranked foe. Beyond that, it was the program's first victory in the series against the Pioneers. "This one is for all of the alumni before us who battled against Transylvania and came up short … it's also for (former head coach) Dave (Good)," Brueggeman reflected. "We're glad he was here to see this … this was one of the matches every year he always looked forward to." MU out-shot their guests 16-13. Gonzalez topped the chart with six total and three on goal. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Brady Forman (Hastings, Mich.) continued a sparkling campaign with a clean sheet with three saves included … Forman's sixth shutout of the season, leading the HCAC and among the national top 60 before the TU triumph, and 11th of his career helped him solidify high in statistical loop marks. He's just outside the first five in goals-against average (1.29 – No. 6) and saves percentage (79.8 – No. 6) while his 71 saves are third-highest. Gonzalez is also part of four top 10 rankings, as he's tied for seventh in goals (four); his 46 total shot are second-best; his 11 points earned are No. 10, and his three assists are tied for sixth.
Road Trip: The Black and Gold spend time in the Buckeye State Saturday, Oct. 21, and Wednesday, Oct. 25. They face Mt. St. Joseph this weekend in a 3:30 p.m. start that's part of a doubleheader with the women's team, and they are off to Bluffton University for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff next week.