The Emmaus men's soccer team played back to back games against in-state Conference rivals Faith Baptist (Ankeny, Iowa). A reschedule match saw the two teams meet in Dubuque on Thursday, October 17th before they clashed again on Saturday in Ankeny.
Thursday's match in Dubuque saw the initial game plan take two big hits early as Junior defender Jared Gambill (#16) and senior forward Fabian Parra (#3) saw their days end early due to injuries. With players shuffled around in the first few minutes of the match Emmaus struggled to develop much of an attack, and succumbed to two goals by Faith, one on a cross and the other into side netting from long range.
Trailing 0-2 at the half Emmaus changed up their lineup and surged forward, getting a goal back just 10 minutes into the half. Gabe Aguilar (#22) found Jacob Chacko (#14) on a run across the box that was deflected out to sophomore midfielder Reilly Steel (#10). Reilly took one touch, then fired from 25 yards out into side netting to being the hosts within a goal. With momentum on their side Emmaus continued to push for the equalizer, but Faith held fast until the 78th minute when outstanding senior midfielder Andrew Young (#21) scored a blazing shot off a corner kick to restore his team's two goal lead. With the clock winding down, Faith managed to add one more on a counter attack to give the visitor's the 4-1 victory.
The second match of the double-header kicked off on a cool sunny afternoon in Ankeny. This time it was Emmaus who applied pressure early, nearly scoring on a corner. The two teams then settled in and battled back and forth until a Faith shot from long range took an awkward double deflection, hitting off the Emmaus keeper's shoulder and trickling over the end line. The hosts went into the half with a one goal lead.
The second half once again saw Emmaus make a strong surge, and they were rewarded in the 66th minute when Gabe Aguilar (#22) sent a cross to the back post that senior captain Carson McBain (#11) headed home at the back post. With the game tied both teams continued to push, it looked like the match might go to overtime. Faith would earn a break in the 86th minute, however, after a turnover at midfield saw Jacob Stillwell (#3) find a pass from Noah Zollinger (#8), who calmly slotted his shot into the near post. Emmaus made one more late surge to earn a corner kick, but couldn't managed to find the net as the host team went on to win 2-1.
"These were two tough but good games for us," said Coach Brown. "Faith is a solid team with some depth and experience, and Coach Sauser always has his boys ready to play against us. Every match between these two teams has historically been hard fought, yet sweet off the field. Who knows, we might see them again at the conference and regional tournaments. Our boys would love another shot at Faith."
Emmaus will end its regular season schedule on Friday when they host regional powerhourse Maranatha Baptist on Friday, October 25th. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm.