NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Manchester Spartans picked up a key Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory on Wednesday at Good Field. The Spartans downed Bluffton University by a final score of 2-0 in the team's 2019 home finale.
The Spartans got on the board early as Nick Surber (Hebron, Ind./Hebron) fired a rocket into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season in the ninth minute. Later in the first period, Shemar Clarke (French Lick, Ind./Springs Valley) subbed into the match and immediately impacted the game. Clarke beat a pair of Bluffton defenders down the right side and his attempt on goal found the back of the net. Clarke's first career goal in the 35th minute put MU ahead 2-0.
Manchester's defense was strong all afternoon as Bluffton was held to just four shot attempts, only one of which was put on goal. Goalie Justin Winterboer (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) had only one save on Wednesday, but it was an impressive one. Winterboer dove full-extension to his left and made a leaping save on a Bluffton header late in the second half.
The win helped inch the Spartans closer to locking up a third straight berth in next week's HCAC Tournament. Today's victory, coupled with a Defiance loss earlier in the day, has put the Spartans back in the top four of the league standings with a record of 8-9-1, 5-3 HCAC.
Bluffton dropped to 6-12, 1-7 HCAC.
Manchester will travel to Earlham College on Saturday November 2 with a spot in the HCAC Tournament on the line. Saturday's kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.