Black and Gold even HCAC mark

Black and Gold even HCAC mark

FRANKLIN, IND. – Junior forward Katelyn Barta (Griffith, Ind.) helped lift Manchester University to a key Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road win Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Barta, recording her fifth match of three points or more, powered two goals past Franklin College's defense as part of a 10-shot attack by the Spartans (5-6-1, 1-1 HCAC) in the 3-2 win on Branigin Field at Faught Stadium. Her five overall shots were all aimed at the Grizzlies' net.

The league's second-leading scorer, pitted in a duel with HCAC leader Vanessa Benham, didn't wait long to make her mark in either half. In the fifth minute, on a well-placed ball into the middle from junior midfielder Amber Oster (Fountaintown, Ind.), she flicked the ball into the net on a header for a 1-0 lead. After the hosts rallied back for the first of two tying scores on the night, Barta and junior forward Breanna McLane (Westville, Ind.) got loose for the Black and Gold offense just over seven minutes into the second half with Barta finishing for a 2-1 lead.

Franklin (7-4, 1-1 HCAC) took a goal from Benham less than 10 minutes after Barta's final score for a 2-2 tie. The offensive output crescendoed to a fever pitch in the 72nd minute, as Manchester University sophomore forward Brandy Crouse (Cleves, Ohio), posting a goal for the third time in the last five matches, struck the game winner.

The Spartans held on for the final 19-plus minutes due to effective goalkeeping play from junior Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.). Willmann knocked away six extra Franklin attempts for a goal en route to the decision.

MU continues an important week of conference play Saturday, Oct. 12, with Transylvania University of Kentucky's visit to Spartan Field. Kickoff is 1 p.m.

NOTES: The win upped an impressive Manchester University streak in the all-time series. MU hasn't suffered a loss in the last 15-plus seasons with one tie thrown in … Willmann's next save, which will be her 100th of the year, continues a familiar theme for the junior net minder. She's had 100-or-more in each of the previous two seasons … Barta moved into second in the HCAC in shots (36), trailing only Bluffton University of Ohio's Aimee Whitmer (44). She and Benham are tied for first with six assists each, while Benham holds a slight edge in goals (11-9) and points (28-24).