Sports Information Director
South Bend, IND. -- The Holy Cross Saints men's soccer team took on the Bethel (Ind.) College Pilots on Tuesday evening to cap off the Michiana Soccer Night hosted by the Kroc Center and The Salvation Army. The first ever regular season meeting between the two local schools was as intense and exciting as you could expect. Despite overcoming a 2-0 half time deficit, the Saints fell to the Pilots 3-2 on a late second half goal. The loss brings the saints to 4-2 on the year and closes out their non conference schedule.
"Any time you're down at the half, especially at 2-0, and you come back shows the will and fight that your guys have," said head coach Omar Gallo. "We may not have come up with the victory, but the guys never believed they were out of the game."
Bethel was quick to take control of the game in the early stages, generating the most scoring opportunities.
The Pilots connected on the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute after Lukas Muszong finished off the corner kick with a header to put the Saints behind 1-0.
Bethel continued to put the pressure on the Saints, netting their second goal just one minute later to extend their lead to 2-0.
After the two quick goals from Bethel, the Saints began to gain their composure and generate some opportunities of their own. Despite the slow start offensively, they ended the half trailing by one in shots.
With the first half in the books, the Saints started the second half as the aggressors, eagerly seeking a goal to cut into Bethel's lead.
With more than 30 minutes left in the game, the Saints knew they had an opportunity to get back into the game.
The opportunities kept coming, but the Saints were unable to get another goal past Bethel goalkeeper Aaron Hunter.
In the 81st minute of action, Garbhan Grant (Letterkenny, Ireland) scored on his corner kick off of the goalkeeper's glove to tie it at 2-2.
Despite the slow start, despite trailing 2-0 at the break, the Saints had fought and battled to tie the game with less than ten minutes to play.
The great comeback from the Saints was spoiled, however, when Ricardo Zambonino was able to disrupt the Saints clearing attempt and slipped it past Saints goalkeeper Iain McTurk (Copenhagen, Denamark) in the 87th minute.
The Saints were unable to pull off their second comeback of the evening and eventually fell to the Pilots by a score of 3-2.
In the end, the Saints outshot the Pilots 23-16 and had an 8-7 advantage of corner kicks.
Saints goalkeeper Iain McTurk finished the game with five saves.
"This was one of those games where I believe we controlled the majority of the game," continued Gallo. "With three minutes left in regulation we made a mistake and they capitalized on int. Bethel is a great program and is a great test for what we will see when we begin conference play. The guys showed that they can play with a team of their caliber and that they have the will and desire to fight back, even when down 2-0.
"Moving forward, we finished our non-conference schedule at 4-2 which is the best we've ever done in school history. Now we must focus towards our conference schedule as we open up Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action against the defending champions. We know we have the fight in us, so now it's time to carry this into conference."
The Saints resume action with their first CCAC matchup of the year at home on Tuesday, September 24th against defending conference champions Olivet Nazarene University. The game is set to kickoff at 4:00 p.m. EST.