Great Lakes came onto Davenport University’s field on Monday night riding a disappointing two-game skid, losing to rival Grace twice off of a deflection and an own goal in consecutive games. Also, the Crusaders came into the contest missing some key players due to health; centre back Daniel Jehl, and midfielders Izzy Sesay and St. Luc Picard. Despite these setbacks, the team were looking forward to a chance to play their scheduled opponent, Kuyper College, another conference foe, one whom they had dismantled 6-0 at home just the week before.
The lights were on and the air was cold, but expectant, as the two teams kicked off at 8:30 p.m. on the turf at Davenport University.
It was Kuyper who held the advantage through the first half-hour, creating a load of chances that they just couldn’t finish. The pressure broke in the 28th with a top corner strike from 25 yards away, giving Kuyper a 1-0 advantage. Kuyper continued to put the pressure on, but the Lakes finally were able to launch the counter, creating some opportunities for themselves.
In the dying seconds of the half, Jeremy Klepal picked up a ball from the midfield, beat a defender, and launched one that the keeper couldn’t handle, and it bounded in for what appeared to be the equaliser. Alas, the ball entered the net one second after the scoreboard clock had run out for the half, and was disallowed, leaving the half time score line at 1-0 to Kuyper.
Great Lakes would get their equaliser, though; a corner from Klepal in the 49th bounced around the box and was finished by Peter Stebbins, who proceeded to spar with the corner flag in celebration.
The pleasure from that goal did not last long, however, as Kuyper put themselves back on top 2-1 with a finish off of a rebound in the 57th.
In the next twenty minutes, both teams had a myriad of chances, but neither side could find the net. Finally, in the 85th, Brandon Coleman picked up a loose ball in the box and finished it far post, saving yet another match for the Crusaders with late-game heroics.
The teams continued to battle it, out, each trying to find a winner before extra time when all of a sudden...
The lights went out.
All but four floodlights suddenly turned off in the 87th minute, leaving the field in darkness. For the next ten minutes, the players made Super Bowl jokes and tried to fight off the chill that had set in on the night. When the lights did come back on, play resumed. No goals were scored in the final few minutes and the match went to golden goal extra time.
Kuyper definitely had the advantage in the first half of extra time, and looked to have it won at one point with a point-blank effort from the six yard box, but somehow it managed to sail over the goal and into the netting behind. The teams switched ends after the ten minute period and continued.
It looked like it would end in a draw until, in the 110th minute; Klepal had a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper and attempted to go around him. The Kuyper goalkeeper reached out his arm to stop him and knocked him to the ground for what would have likely been a penalty, but much like the disallowed goal from the first half, the infraction didn’t occur until after the scoreboard buzzer had gone, and thus, the game was over.
“Missing three starters just can’t be ignored”, said Jeremy Klepal after the game, “We knew we were in for a tougher game against Kuyper. But the way some of those guys performed puts us in a really good place to maybe pick up a win this weekend.”
Game Notes: Great Lakes dropped out of the NCCAA DII top ten this morning, receiving three points in the voting. Daniel Jehl is not expected to play the rest of this season following his concussion against Grace. St. Luc Picard is day-to-day.
Up Next: Great Lakes take a road trip this weekend, visiting two conference opponents; (NCCAA DII #3) Northland International on Friday, and Maranatha on Saturday.