The Eagle Soccer team traveled north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to take on the Lions of Finlandia University. The meeting was the second between the two schools after the Eagles won at home the previous season 3-1. Finlandia, led by head coach Chris Chrysafidis, recruited a strong group of freshman, looked to even up the win count at home. The match marked the first time Emmaus had ever played in the Upper Peninsula, and the scenery and weather did not disappoint. Snow flurries fell throughout the match with wind chills at around 25 degrees.
The game started with both teams settled in and sizing the other up. Around ten minutes in the Lions began to send in some dangerous through balls, but the Eagle defense held to keep things even. Finlandia finally found their breakthrough in the 26th minute when a miscommunication in the back left Chelan Gonzalez wide open on a pass from Javier Martinez. Eight minutes later the Lions scored again when a long through ball to Akwasi Kwarteng was neatly touched around the Eagle keeper, Jacob Bauder (#1), who came off his line just a split second late. It looked like the Eagles might go into the half down two, but an unfortunate turnover in the midfield allowed Kwarteng to get one more shot off in the 43rd minute to give the home team a 3-0 cushion. Rather than put their heads down, however, Emmaus surged forward in the final minute of the half, created a dangerous cross from freshman Gabe Aguilar (#22), and forced a big save off of a booming shot from senior Carson McBain (#11).
The second half saw both teams battle it out, but with neither able to capitalize on their opportunities. Bauder, learning from his first half error, came up with several aggressive plays off his line to keep the Lions out of the goal.
After 45 minutes of freezing, windy, snowy soccer, the final whistle blew with the hosts celebrating a 3-0 victory.
The Eagles will be back in action on Thursday when they host conference rival Faith Baptist Bible College. The two teams will be battling for seeding in the upcoming MCCC conference tournament. Kickoff is set for 4:00.