The Emmaus soccer team continued conference play this past weekend, hosting the Ambassadors of Ozark Christian College and the Warriors of Calvary University on Friday and Saturday respectively. Both matches were played on a nearby turf field due to heavy rains in the area, with the alumni match played after the Saturday match.
The Friday match pitted Emmaus against a feisty opponent in Ozark who had lost to the Eagles in the shootout in the previous season's conference tournament semi-final. With neither team at full health, the match saw both groups struggle to settle in and establish possession. Ozark, for their part, managed to spring more passes together, but the Emmaus defense held in the first half. The Eagles put themselves on the board in the 9th minutes when Gabriel Aguilar (#22) forced a turnover that Fabian Parra (#3) settled before beating a player and scoring at the near post.
The second half got off to a better start for the Eagles as far as touches and momentum, but the home team coughed up a costly goal when a miscommunication in the back led to a turnover right in front of the goal that Nathan Boone (#9) stole and slotted home. The two teams then battled for the remainder of the half, with neither team managing to get an edge.
Overtime, itself, was cut short when lightning was detected a few miles away, so the final score remained 1-1, with a near even shot count of 12-11 in favor of Ozark.
Saturday's match against Calvary saw the Eagles struggle to get settled in early. Calvary nearly took advantage in the first minute when they found space behind the Eagle defense and saw a player fire a shot over the goal from close range. It was the Eagles who managed to find the back of the net, however, when Gabe Aguilar found the feet of Caron McBain (#11) in the midfield, who created just enough space from 25 yards out to curl a shot into the upper 90.
Calvary would not go away, however, and came close to scoring on several attempts. It was not to be for the Warriors, however, as the Eagle defense managed to hold out for the remainder of the half and match. Neither team saw much success generating opportunities on offense as the final score remained 1-0, but the defenses held tough and made life difficult.
The victory by the Eagles saw them improve their conference record to 2-1-1, with a big matchup against Faith Baptist looming in the near future to determine conference tournament seeding.
Following the conference matches, a group of 28 alumni, led by veteran coaches Doc Fish and Steve Seeman, took to the field and played a spirited match. Overall, it was an exciting weekend for Emmaus soccer that included success on the field, fellowship all around, and growth for all involved.
The Eagles will be back in action this upcoming weekend as they travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on the NCCAA2 #3 ranked Tigers of Grace Christian University. The last time the two teams met in 2012 the Tigers defeated a very inexperienced Eagle team 8-0. The Eagles will look to deliver a much better showing this time around.