After returning from Georgia, we had two days to prepare for what is historically one of the most difficult games of the season. I am a senior and I remember all too well the times we had been blown out by a very strong NC Wesleyan side only two and three seasons before. It had been closer last season, but up until this point Guilford had lost all recent Men’s Soccer matches against NC Wesleyan.
When the two teams took the field the atmosphere in the stadium was electrifying. There were many fans, both family of players, and students of Guilford College, who came out to support our efforts in this first home match. From early on the match was a back-and-forth struggle. Wesleyan had many tall players, and they won nearly everything in the air. We however, controlled the game when we kept the ball on the pitch and created some very good early chances in the first half. However, the score was still level at 0-0 when the first half ended. When the second half began, we still seemed to have the upper hand as far as possession and chances on goal were concerned but we couldn’t seem to find the net past an on-form NC Wesleyan goalkeeper that must have been having the game of his life that night. Speaking of goalkeepers I have to mention that Peter Truitt, the starting keeper for Guilford, also played an amazing game with big saves throughout the game that kept us level with an increasingly aggressive and assertive Wesleyan side. The most notable save being the one he made very late in the game to stop a very powerful and well placed shot by launching himself into the air and tipping the ball out far enough that it bounced away off the post of the goal.
The second half also ended 0-0 and two ten minute periods of overtime were played. The overtime periods were fast paced and exciting but both teams were too desperate for a goal to really think and try to possess the ball so it ended up being a back and forth battle where both teams were trying to counterattack as the other lost the ball. There were still no goals, and the game ended in a draw.
The entire team played very well during this game with terrific efforts all around the field. We created chances, which is very encouraging, but we failed to put them away and that is something we will make sure to address and fix before our next game.
By: Ethan Byrd (Sr., #5)