Jordan Oyer – Sports Information Director
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Holy Cross men's soccer team kicked off their 2014 season with a 2-0 win vs the Huntington University Foresters this afternoon at Saints Field. There was a big crowd on hand to see the much anticipated men's soccer season begin.
From the opening whistle both sides kept their play tentative not wanting to make the first mistake of the new season. By the 16th minute things were starting to heat up for the Saints as they began an assault that lasted several minutes on the Huntington goal. The chances finally paid off in the 26th minute as Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu had a perfect header off the crossbar and in the back of the net, which was setup by a beautiful arching cross from Troy Padgett.
The Foresters came back with a vengeance after the opening goal, creating a close range chance for sophomore midfielder Isaac Wust which forced a tough save for Saints goalkeeper Brian Aldrich. The second half closed with the Saints up 1-0 and taking a lot of momentum to the locker room for halftime.
The Saints came out cool and collected in the second half dictating the flow of the game and putting heavy pressure on the Huntington defense. In the 65th minute Troy Padgett broke down the defense with a great run into the box where he was pulled down by a Huntington defender and won the Saints their first penalty kick of the year. Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu stepped up and buried the free chance into the bottom right corner giving the keeper no chance for a save.
The Saints stayed on the front foot the rest of the game, dominating possession while still remaining threatening to the Foresters goal. The second half didn't lack intensity or spirit as the referee handed out 3 yellow cards. Forester midfielder Paul Holliday earned his in the 56th minute and two Holy Cross players earned yellows as well (Alfredo Molestina 75', Kyle Hendzel 90').
"This is a great way to start the season. We did a great job of controlling the game, but still have some things to work on. The important part is we got the result we wanted, and more importantly we protected our home field," said Head Coach Omar Gallo after the game.
This win marks the third straight year the Saints have won their season opener under Omar Gallo. The Saints will be in action this Saturday, August 30th at 4:00 PM when they host the Cardinals of Concordia University-Ann Arbor.