Going into an away game after a four hour bus ride is never an easy thing to do. During the trip, everyone has to stay focused on the game and the importance of the three points from the win. The tricky part of that is getting the energy level up after sitting around for so long.
The beginning of the game was a pretty even match, with both teams trying to figure each other out. We feel like we got the best opportunities but came away with no goals to show for it. In the closing moments of the first half a shot was fired from outisde the 18 by the Mennonites, only to be superbly blocked by freshman Quaker keeper Marko Mandilinic. As the ball rebounded to another one of their players, he put it just wide of the post as Marko, yet again, cut off the angle.
Going into the second half as a 0-0 tie really urged Guilford to come out with a spark and get on top from the start with high pressure defending up top and possession of the ball, through the midfield. As the Quakers continued to work the ball around and posses, they finally started to get more chances on net with the forwards heating up. About halfway through the second half, center back Drew Gunter stepped up to take a 40 yard free kick from the right side line. As he drove the ball into the box, the Mennonite keeper stepped up to clear the ball, only to lose it in the sun and have it slip into the goal, tallying Gunter’s first goal with the Quakers.
From here on out, Eastern Mennonite was pressuring with all they had. A few minutes later, starting with a bad back pass in the Quaker’s defense, the Mennonites took advantage and headed a cross in to level the game at 1-1. Determined not to let the three points slip from their grasp, Guilford fought on to eventually overcome the tie. With 8 minutes to go, junior Kereith Pinnock was subbed onto the pitch. With his second touch of the game, he sent a beautiful bending ball behind the Mennonite’s last defender onto sophomore Ronnie Castellanos’ foot, leaving him nothing more to do than tuck the winning goal in the right side netting.
With the final minutes of the game dwindling, Guilford held onto the winning goal to advance with the three points and put themselves currently into third place in conference.
As captain of the team, I speak for us all when I say that we thank all of our fans and supporters for watching and cheering from all over. We hope to end the season on a high note for us, and you all, too.
-Griffen Gilbert (Jr, Captain)