DUBUQUE, IA - On a humid Tuesday afternoon, The Emmaus Bible College Men's Soccer Team kicked off against visiting Division 3 opponent, the Eureka Red Devils. This would mark the last time the two senior classes would face off against each other after battling hard over the previous 4 years. The game started out as a physical game between both teams a lot of hard tackles, yet with both teams helping the other off the ground in a show of good sportsmanship. Early on the Eagles had a chance when a build up play between Reilly Steel #10 found a through ball to striker Fabian Parra #3 as Fabian was in on goal. Fabian just got his shot off high before being clobbered by the keeper (no call). The first breakthrough started when Senior Carson McBain eluded two players and sent a ball over the top to Fabian #3, who dribbled past the goalie and tapped it into the goal in the 28th minute. Soon after that Freshman Gabriel Torres #22 showed why he will be one of the best freshman Emmaus has seen in a while when he received a through ball from Fabian #3 which Gabe slotted home in the 36th minute to make the score 2-0. As the half-ended Freshman Goalie Jacob Bauder #1 ended the half with 7 saves to preserve the Eagle lead.
As the second half started Eureka came strong and hard right off the bat. Emmaus parried those attacks for the first 8 minutes of the half. In the 53rd minute senior Carson McBain #11 earned a free kick around 27 yards away from goal, which he then curled over the wall and into the back of the net to give the home team a 3-0 advantage. Trailing by three goals Eureka started to play with a strong sense of urgency. Senior striker Michael Hansen #19 sent a perfect ball over the top which was one timed into the back of the net by Iori Katakura in the 57th minute. Soon after that Emmaus looked absolutely exhausted on the field and Eureka capitalized on it again when Hansen #19 got the ball with his back to goal turned and buried the ball underneath a diving Bauder to make the score 3-2 in the 67th minute. Eureka then managed to tie up the game in the 75th minute when Adam Newell #20 took the ball off of an Emmaus defender due to a lack of communication and finished it into the near post. Emmaus kept on fighting and had a few more opportunities to capitalize but couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. Eureka had plenty of chances as well as a corner kick taken by them found Hansen's head and he wrung the crossbar with it. In the final minute of the game Hansen won the end line and sent a cross into Iori Katakura who half volleyed the ball into the back of the net with 20 seconds left in the game putting Eureka ahead 4-3. As Emmaus tried to get that final goal in the last 20 seconds the final whistle sounded, with Eureka having accomplished an incredible comeback.
To say the least this game was truly heartbreaking for Emmaus players as this is the seventh loss to Eureka over the past 4 years, and the fifth loss in the last 10 minutes of the game. "It would seem that Eureka sort of had our number, "said Coach Brown. "It has been fun to watch these two groups or seniors grow over the past four years and to see not only quality soccer, but genuine respect for one another. It hurts to lose that way, but both teams played hard, and ours just ran out of gas first. Looks like we have some more training to do in the weeks to come!"
It was emotional for some players battling with Eureka as these past years have seen plenty of friendships developed between the two teams. Senior Carson McBain summed up the teams thoughts when he said, "My hope is that out of everything we have experienced together, Eureka could see the love we have for them just like the same love Jesus has for us. We pray that we were able to plant a seed into the hearts of all these players." The Emmaus Eagles, still looking for their first win of the season, will travel to Watertown, Wisconsin on Thursday to take on tough Regional opponent Maranatha Baptist University.