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Sun, Soccer, and Success in the South

Posted by jfullan on November 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus men’s soccer team travelled south to a warm and sunny Joplin, Missouri to compete in the ACCA National Tournament in a full weekend of soccer, fun, and fellowship accompanied by the Emmaus volleyball team.

The Eagles (#5 seed) took on the Warriors of Calvary Bible College (#4 seed) on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the tournament. The team was excited about the rematch with Calvary who had defeated Emmaus 2-1 earlier in the season. The Eagles got off to a great start, possessing the ball and creating scoring opportunities, but the Warriors managed to find the net first when outstanding senior Ross Harris (#14) evaded the Emmaus defense and fired a shot that bounced off of goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen’s hands and trickled into the net. The half ended with the Eagles trailing 0-1, but there was plenty of exciting soccer to be played.

Cheered on loudly by the volleyball team, Emmaus controlled the momentum of the second half and freshman Joe Olsen tied the game up with his 8th goal of the year on a strong shot just wide of the keeper. Emmaus took the lead a few minutes later when the ball rebounded out of the Calvary penalty area off of an Emmaus corner kick. Freshman defender Ryan Bell stepped to the ball and fired a rocket into the upper ninety for his first goal of the season. The Emmaus offense continued to press the attack, but Calvary had an answer when Ross Harris scored his second goal of the game to tie things up on a strong turn in the Emmaus box. Overtime seemed imminent as the two teams battled hard all over the muddy field, each creating near scoring opportunities. Then, in the final minute of play, Andy Bell won a powerful header in the box that deflected off a Calvary defender and into the goal to seal a 3-2 victory for the Eagles.

“I am really proud of the guys’ efforts today. Both teams battled hard and exemplified both strong play and Christ-like character. It is always a privilege to play the Warriors as they are well-coached and follow the example of their Coach, Dan Nichols.” (Coach Brown)

Thursday night after the game the Emmaus teams met up with the Calvary teams for a time of sharing, singing, prayer, and fellowship. “It was a rich time for both teams to worship and encourage one another, remembering our great Savior together and celebrating being a part of His team.”

On Friday afternoon the Emmaus men took on the #1 seeded hosts, Ozark Christian College. As the game got under way, it was evident that Ozark possessed a great deal of both speed and skill and kept the Emmaus defense busy early and often. Finally, in the 24th minute, Ozark found the back of the net as they managed to claim a hard fought 50/50 ball and cross it into the box where a waiting forward made a strong turn to score a goal. The Emmaus attack struggled to gain much momentum against the speed of the Ozark defense and went into the half trailing 0-1.

Emmaus came out fired up in the second half and after battling primarily in the midfield for 10 minutes they recorded the first shot on goal of the half. It was Ozark, however, that would strike again as outstanding midfielder Connor Wood (#6) played a perfect through ball to streaking outside midfielder Skyler Davis who put the shot away with one neat touch. “There wasn’t a lot the defense could have done as it was a great pass and excellent finish.”

Just minutes later Ozark struck again on a long range shot that beat keeper Erik Rasmussen into the left corner. The score would hold at 0-3 for most of the second half before Ozark managed to notch a two more goals courtesy of their speed and determination.

“No one ever likes to lose, but I have to say our guys fought hard and gave themselves a chance. Erik Rasmussen recorded some phenomenal saves to keep things close and the defense held strong for most of the game. Ozark is a very skilled team with a lot of speed and a skilled bench. Even better, they are a classy team who clearly enjoys both the game as well as the fellowship on the field. It was a privilege to play them and I look forward to seeing them in future years. Coach Greer clearly has his priorities straight in working with his team as they play extremely hard without sacrificing their testimony.”

The final test for Emmaus came on Saturday morning as they faced Hillsdale Freewill Baptist College (Moore, OK) in the 3rd place game of the tournament. The Eagles got off to a good start by putting strong pressure on the Hillsdale midfield and setting up a few good crosses early. Hillsdale quickly regained their composure, however, to set the tone for the game. Using crisp passes and strong finishing, Hillsdale managed to knot two goals in the opening half as Emmaus struggled to apply consistent pressure on their shooters. Coach Brown reported that, “We gave them a little too much space, which I realized later had more to do with tired legs than lack of effort on our part.”

The second half brought more of the same as the weekend-weary Eagles struggled to find energy to match Hillsdale’s, who scored just two minutes into the new half and twice more halfway through. “We were clearly tired as we had yet to face 3 games in 3 days this year, and credit Hillsdale for taking advantage of the space we afforded them on defense. They clearly played a better game and I applaud their fitness and finishing.” Emmaus did not give up, however, as they finally managed to score a goal of their own with just two minutes to spare. Travis Holtan (#5) battled for a ball in the left corner, won the endline, and then played a perfect cross to freshman Joe Olsen (#3) who headed the ball into the goal from close range. “The guys don’t give up. Though energy was low and our play was a little frustrating at times, the guys continued to work for one another until the final whistle.”

Despite falling in their final two games of the tournament, the Eagles finished 4th overall and count it a very successful weekend for the team and the program. “Before our first game of the tournament we shared as a team what would make this a successful weekend. Sure, winning games can be part of success, but we all agreed that playing our hardest, growing in our relationships with one another and other teams, and representing our school, families, and Savior well were the key ingredients for a successful weekend. Though there is always room for growth, I would have to say mission accomplished as far as the team goes. This season we grew together through wins and losses, and it is hard for me to imagine working with a more fun group of guys who genuinely care for one another on and off the field. They are not a group to be taken for granted as I only wish I could have them all around for a few more years. I have grown significantly as a coach this year from working with them, and I count it a great privilege to be a part of this team.”

Emmaus finished their season with a record of 6 wins, 14 losses, and plenty of potential looking toward next year.


Strong End To Emmaus Soccer Regular Season

Posted by jfullan on October 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus men’s soccer team ended their regular season this past weekend with back to back wins against Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, MO) and St. Louis Christian College (St. Louis, MO).

Friday night’s match against the Saints of CCCB was anything but pretty as Emmaus struggled to stay onside against the tight Saint’s trap. Both teams came close to scoring on several occasions before Micah Barsness blasted a ball past the Saint’s keeper off of an assist from Travis Holtan. The score would hold until the 4th minutes of the second half when Banjamin Jimenez tapped in a corner kick fed by freshman Joe Olsen. The Saints did not quit, however, and scored off of a perfectly placed free kick following a handball just outside the Emmaus box. Joe Olsen then regained the two goal lead for the eagles with textbook cross goal shot off of an assist from Miguel Rodriguez. The Saints would draw within a goal for the second time after a controversial offsides call near midfield led to a Saint’s free kick. The Eagles had an answer. Travis Holtan notched his first goal of the night on a loose ball in the box following a header by Joe Olson. The Saints were not finished, however, and managed to get back one final goal late in stoppage time as the score ended 4-3 in favor of the home team.

“I was really proud of the way the guys fought last night. Despite a plethora of sometimes questionable off sides calls, the team managed to score 4 goals against a team who held them scoreless at the beginning of the season. There was a lot to learn from the game both regarding our play and our response to adversity. I suppose that when Paul wrote that we should ‘do everything without grumbling and complaining,’ (Phil. 2:14) he was anticipating that challenging situations would arise. Last night was one of those times, and we learned our lesson and still managed to escape with the victory.”

In their second match of the weekend the Eagles took on the Soldiers of SLCC. The Eagles started the game well, settling the ball and finding open players despite slippery conditions. Senior Andy Bell got the scoring started in the 15th minute when he intercepted a pass on the Soldier back line and rifled a shot into the far corner for his first goal of the season. The Soldiers battled hard and had a few near misses of their own before Micah Barsness drove home a shot off of an assist from Ryan Bell just before the half.

Emmaus came out firing in the second half, putting immediate pressure on the Soldier defense. Travis Holtan then scored on a redirected ball off of a Ryan Bell corner kick (51st minute). Micah Barsness scored five minutes later on another corner after settling a loose ball in the box on another corner kick. “We have been working hard in practice at wanting the ball in the box, and it paid off with two corner kick goals in a row” (Coach Brown).

The Eagles weren’t done. Joe Olsen received a long ball down the sideline from Ryan Bell and proceeded to sidestep a defender before firing the ball through the goalie’s legs. The Eagle’s final goal of the match came four minutes later when defender Joel Colon made a brilliant run down the right flank and battled his way through the Soldier defense before knocking the ball into the net.

The 6-0 scoreline would stand as Emmaus recorded its 5th win and 3rd shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen recorded 17 saves on the weekend and Ryan Bell managed three assists in the game against St. Louis. The team managed 28 a shots on goal on 43 attempts between the two games and scored on three corner kicks. “It was nice to pick up a couple of wins down the stretch. The guys took care of business on the field and played hard, unselfish soccer. I commend both CCCB and St. Louis for their efforts and look forward to future matches with them.” (Coach Brown)

The Eagles (5-9) will scrimmage a team from neighboring Divine Word seminary this coming Thursday, October 24th at 4pm in what will be their last home match of the season before travelling down to Joplin, MO on November 6th for the ACCA national tournament. “I look forward to seeing what we can do with a healthy, improving, and hard-working team. It has been a joy to work with them this year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if our best games are still to come.” (Coach Brown)


Better Than a Win

Posted by jfullan on October 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus soccer men played two games this past weekend against the Crusaders from Maranatha Baptist Bible College (Watertown, WI) and the Saints of Hillsdale Freewill Baptist College (Moore, OK). Going into the Friday night match in Watertown, the Eagles were excited about the opportunity to play what they knew would prove to be a fast, organized, skilled, and well-coached team. Emmaus was able to hold Maranatha scoreless for 20 minutes with some scrappy defense, but the relentless Crusader attack proved too much for an injury-ridden Emmaus defense, managing 5 goals over the final 25 minutes of the half.

It was more of the same in the second half as Maranatha’s starters scored 2 goals in the first two minutes. The Crusaders’ subs, doubtless eager to impress their coach, continued the show by adding 4 additional goals as the game ended 0-11.

“It isn’t often that I have almost all positive things to say after an 11 goal beating,” said Coach Brown. “Maranatha was fantastic. The speed of their tack, the composure of their midfield, and the unselfish play of some of the best soccer players I have seen this year was impressive to watch. Coupled with their strong show of Christ-like sportsmanship, I can’t help but wish them all the best as they finish up their season. On the other side of the ball, our guys played hard and impressed me by the way they handled themselves for the entire 90 minutes that they were on the field. There was no quit in them as they recorded their only shots on goal in the final 10 minutes of the game. Further, after each goal conceded, I was encouraged to see my team reach out to pick one another up and encouraging their goalie that he would get the next one… he did manage 22 saves, after all. It makes me proud to coach them all as somethings matter more than winning.”

On Saturday, Emmaus returned to their homefield to take on the Saints of Hillsdale. Emmaus game out energized, excited to play on a beautiful day in front of their home crowd with one of their healthiest teams of the year. Senior Zack Armfield finally made his season debut after coaching from the sidelines following a bad sprain in the preseason. He did not disappoint as the Eagle defense held for the first 20 minutes before Zack had to step out for a breather. A few minutes later, the Saints took a 1-0 lead when the Eagles found themselves off balance in the back and wildly diving at the ball. The Saints then struck twice more before half as Emmaus struggled to close down shooters. “It was frustrating to watch as both our offense and defense had been playing so well, battling for balls and creating scoring opportunities. You never like to find yourself in the hole like that, but the guys were ready to fight back.” (Coach Brown)

The second half got off to a great start as Emmaus put consistent pressure on the Hillsdale’s back line. Travis Holtan recorded his first goal of the season off of an assist from Andy Bell on a bouncing ball in the box. “It was great to see the guys score a scrappy goal. We have been working on wanting the ball more than teams we play, and in that case, we wanted it.”

The rest of the half went back and forth with Emmaus controlling much of the possession and nearly scoring a second goal. It was Hillsdale, however, who managed to sneak in one more on a close free kick from the top of the box. Eagle Keeper Erik Rasmussen, who recorded 10 saves on the day, managed to get his hand on the ball before it hit the side netting. The score line would stand at 1-4 in favor of Hillsdale.

“No one likes to lose, but I am really proud of the guys efforts this weekend. Their testimony and hard play make it a privilege to coach them, and with injured players finally coming back out to play I love our potential as we finish up the season.”

Emmaus plays a double-header at home this coming weekend against CCCB from Moberly, Missouri and SLCC from St. Louis.


Meet Freshman Soccer Player Ryan Bell

Posted by jfullan on October 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

1. Tell us about where you are from, when you started playing soccer, and what brought you to Emmaus.

I was born in Pensacola, Florida but grew up in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. I ended up at Emmaus largely in part because my friend who I go to a bible camp with has two brothers at Emmaus so that got me interested enough to check it out. Then I fell in love with the family environment and great bible program.

2. What is your major?

Business Administration/Bible Theology

3. What is your favorite memory on the field or involving soccer?

My favorite memory involving soccer would have to be my dad being my coach all through youth soccer. He pushed me harder than everyone else and although I didn't always like it at the time I'm very thankful for how it has made me a better player and person today.

4. What is your favorite junk food?

Junk food? Probably cookies or ice cream...but not often.

5. Favorite movie?

I'm not a huge movie guy but if I had to pick a favorite, Megamind. But I like the tv show Psych a lot.

6. Favorite verse/passage? Why?

My favorite verse of the bible is Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grevious words stir up anger." My parents always quoted this verse growing up and more and more I am realizing how very true it is. We can't always control how others act and behave but we can control how we respond and communicate with others. And if that communication is gentle, patient, and kind it has a profound effect on others behavior.

7. Tell us why you feel students should come support Emmaus' sports teams.

Emmaus sports are really exciting, in large part because of the family atmosphere here. Everyone knows everyone and its really fun to cheer on your friends and its a great environment. The more fans we have at a game and the louder they are, the better we play, so come cheer all the sports teams on!

Hurting Emmaus Struggles in Omaha

Posted by jfullan on October 7, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus men’s soccer team travelled to Omaha, Nebraska on Friday to take on the Grace University Royals. After resting several injured players during the week Emmaus was hopeful for a strong showing against the Royals, but it was not to be. The Emmaus defense, already missing two injured players, struggled to stay organized against a fast and furious Grace attack. Despite a strong effort from all players, Emmaus found themselves trailing 0-3 at the half. Emmaus played hard in the second half, but again struggled to slow the Royals who notched 5 additional goals on some tough shooting.

Despite the 0-8 loss, the Emmaus team played with integrity and all of the energy they could muster, hitting two shots of their own off of the woodwork. Goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen made several strong saves to keep the score line from being even more one-sided.

“It obviously was not our strongest showing of the year, and hats off to Grace for their tough play, strong shooting, and show of Christ-like character. Still, there are things to build on and it will make a big difference when several of our key defenseman are healthy again. Our attack is also becoming increasingly dangerous, and I keep telling the guys that our shots are going to fall… hopefully sooner than later!” (Coach Brown)

Emmaus will seek to get rested and healthy this week as they prepare for a tough weekend of matches versus Maranatha Baptist (Waterton, WI) and Hillsdale Freewill Baptist (Moore, OK).

So Close in Ankeny

Posted by jfullan on October 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

For the second time in a week the Emmaus men’s soccer team fell short by a goal in Ankeny, Iowa. After falling to the Warriors of Calvary Bible College on Tuesday 1-2, the Emmaus Eagles looked to rebound against the Faith Eagles. Emmaus came out strong and played an exceptional first half, going into the break knotted at zeroes with several near misses. It seemed only a matter of time before they would find the back of the net, but it was not to be.

With just 18 minutes to go in the game Faith found the net after Emmaus failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box. Faith senior captain Joshua Huang (#19) won the ball in traffic and managed to bounce a shot off an Emmaus defender and into the goal. The final 20 minutes of the half saw several good opportunities for both teams, with neither able to capitalize. Despite the disappointing 0-1 loss, the game was a huge stepping stone for the Emmaus men.

“It was by far our most complete game of the season. We played excellent team defense, communicated well, possessed well, created scoring opportunities, and executed things we have been working on in practice. It was evident from the starting whistle that Emmaus wanted the ball every chance they got, bodying up with Faith players and breaking up their opponent’s rhythm. Sure, I am disappointed to have come up short in the score line, but I couldn’t be more proud of the guys play and effort. They fought to the final whistle and represented Christ well on the field. I can’t wait to see them in action in the coming weeks.” (Coach Brown)

Emmaus’ next game is a rematch with Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday, October 4.

Meeting in the Middle

Posted by jfullan on September 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus men’s soccer team took on the Warriors of Calvary Bible College on Tuesday afternoon in a hard fought match. The game took place at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa, roughly 3 hours from each school.

Emmaus took a few minutes to settle in before Joe Olsen (#3) found the net off of a low cross by Samm Weber (#7) in the 26th minute. Calvary then launched a series of attacks, managing to send a few dangerous crosses in front of the net before senior Ross Harris (#14) managed to tie it up just before halftime after some confusion in the Emmaus defense.

Emmaus started well in the second half, possessing the ball and creating several good opportunities, but it was Calvary who managed to find the net in the 62nd minute. Midfielder Danny Wiebe (#16) forced a turnover and fired a rocket into the upper ninety from 25 yards out. Emmaus fought on, but struggled to create many more scoring opportunities as Calvary hung on for the 2-1 victory.

Despite their disappointment over the loss, the Eagles appreciated Calvary’s hard, clean play and their Christ-like testimony. In addition, both teams enjoyed some fellowship over dinner after the game and look forward to seeing one another at the ACCA tournament to wrap up the year. “There is something to be said for Christian fellowship, and I have great respect for Calvary’s Coach Dan Nichols both as a coach and a follower of Christ. It is always a privilege and blessing to play his team and I hope to get a chance to play them again at the ACCA tournament in November.” (Coach Brown)

Emmaus will return to Ankeny on Friday to take on the Faith Eagles, who outlasted Emmaus last week 2-0.

Eagle vs. Eagle

Posted by jfullan on September 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The Emmaus soccer Eagles took on the Faith Baptist Eagles on Tuesday night in Dubuque. The Emmaus men got off to a good start with some solid possession and dangerous crosses, but were unable to capitalize early. In the 22nd minute, the Faith Eagles were able to slip a cross behind the Emmaus defense and a nifty touch by Forward JJ Parkurst placed the ball just inside the right upper 90. Emmaus struggled to maintain possession for the remainder of the half, but still managed a few dangerous attacks. Faith would strike again in the 39th minute on a counterattack off of an Emmaus free kick. Faith midfielder Ryan Koch cleared the ball up the field to lone forward JJ Parkhurst. Emmaus sweeper Ryan Bell was in a good position to defend the counterattack and was aided by a hustling Joel Colon who stepped in to clear the ball away from Parkhurst, only to have it bounce off of Parkhurst right to the top of the 18 yard box, setting him up perfectly for a shot wide right of goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen. “There wasn’t really anything the guys could have done differently on that one. Parkhurst made a good run and the Emmaus defense put themselves in a position to stop his attack. The ball just happened to take a favorable bounce to set up Parkhurst for an open shot. Maybe the ball will bounce our way next time.” (Coach Brown)

Despite being down 2-0 to begin the second half, the Emmaus Eagles played hard, settled in, and created several near scoring chances. Still, despite outshooting Faith 8-6 in the second half, they were not able to capitalize. The Emmaus defense held strong, and the game ended in a 2-0 loss for the home team. “Overall I am pleased with the team’s efforts today and feel that we gave ourselves opportunities to score. Our defense played very well for the most part, and we are starting to put together strings of passes that make us dangerous. I am excited for the opportunity to play Faith again in a couple of weeks. Both teams showed exceptional Christ-like sportsmanship and it is a joy to watch the teams battle it out.” (Coach Brown)

Emmaus will play again at home this Friday and Saturday as they take on the Emmaus Alumni (3:30 on the 20th) and Kuyper College (12:00 on the 21st).


Soccer In the Scorching South

Posted by jfullan on September 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

For the third straight week the Emmaus Soccer Eagles travelled south to play a match in the scorching heat. This week’s game was a rematch against Lincoln Christian University, a team they managed to defeat earlier in the season in overtime. With temperatures in the upper 90s on a windswept field, the Eagles struggled to settle the ball early in the game. In the 26th minute, after settling in and working the ball around, Travis Holtan (#11) played a beautiful ball to a cutting Benjamin Jimenez (#10) just in front of the goal. After a slight bobble, Jimenez was able to control the ball and pass it wide of the keeper and into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and the Eagle’s early lead. The Eagles doubled their lead one minute later when Travis Holtan found Joe Olson (#3) on a low cross after winning the end line. The Eagles looked a little shaky for the last few minutes of the half, allowing several close scoring opportunities, but the defense managed to keep the ball out of their own net.

The Eagles started the second half with a strong show of energy and in the 53rd minute Holtan and Olson hooked up again for a third team goal. For the rest of the half the Eagle defense settled in, consistently defying all attacks from the frustrated Red Lions of Lincoln. The game ended at 3-0 as Emmaus recorded its second straight shutout victory, improving to 3-2 on the season. Joe Olson picked up his fourth and fifth goals of the year respectively, and for the second straight game Travis Holtan posted an impressive hat trick of assists, bringing his total to 6. Captain Holtan said “the team played mostly smart and together. It is always nice to play as a team and I feel we are learning to trust each other. We are realizing that we can trust each other and that good things are happening when we do.”

The Eagles have the weekend off and will look to continue their streak against a tough Faith Baptist Team next Tuesday on their home field. The game is scheduled to kick off at 4:00.


Soccer Success in the Sun

Posted by jfullan on September 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

For the second weekend in a row, the Emmaus soccer Eagles travelled to Missouri to compete in the heat. With temperatures passing 90 degrees, the Eagles took on the Soldiers of St. Louis Christian College (SLCC). It didn’t take long for Emmaus to get on the board as just four minutes into the game senior midfielder Micah Barsness (#1) powered a shot over the Soldier keeper from 35 yards out that dipped just under the bar and into the back of the net. Micah struck again just nine minutes later on an assist from Travis Holtan (#11) who dribbled the ball past two defenders on the end line before finding Micah for the finish. Freshman Joe Olson (#3) added a third goal in the 16th minute on another Travis Holtan assist. Down 3-0, the Soldier defense led by strong keeper Tre Schlieff settled in and held the Eagles scoreless for the remainder of the half.

The Eagles came out strong in the second half and managed to add a fourth goal to their total in the 63rd minute when Travis Holtan drew a double team at the top of the 18 yard box and passed to an open Joe Olson, who calmly placed a shot into the bottom right corner of the net. The score held as Emmaus earned its second win and first shutout of the year. Coach Shin described the game as “a strong first half with room for improvement in the second. Overall it was a solid effort from the team.”

The Eagles will travel to Illinois on Tuesday for a rematch with the Red Lions from Lincoln Christian University. Emmaus won the first match 2-1 in overtime and looks forward to a tough challenge on the road.