By Michael Otero
On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the men’s soccer team (6-3-1) played host to the Firebirds from the University of the District of Columbia (5-4-1). The Pioneers were able to hold off the visitors, despite the scoring of a late goal, and come away with a 2-1 victory.
Both teams battled wet and soggy conditions all afternoon, but the Pioneers got on the scoreboard first, scoring in the seventh minute of the match. Junior midfielder Per Forgaard weaved his way through enemy defenders and found graduate midfielder Dale McDonald, who beat the Firebird goalie. Later in the first half, the Green and Gold struck again. This time, it was freshman midfielder Harry Pearse who, with help from senior forward Eivind Austboe, found the back of the net to increase LIU’s lead to 2-0.
The Pioneers set the pace in the first half, outshooting the Firebirds by five and holding a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. In the 75th minute of the second half, the Firebirds came out with a different mentality and cut the deficit in half. Junior midfielder Elio Hernandez was able to adjust to a deflection close to the net and capitalized. The 2-1 score held up the rest of the way, despite the two sides being very physical.
Due to inclement weather, the second scheduled match against the Knights from Queens College (1-6) was moved from Saturday, Oct. 4 to Sunday, Oct 5. With the extra rest, the Pioneers came out fresh and ready for battle. In the 20th minute, Austboe was able to give his team a one-goal advantage, courtesy of a pass from Per Forgaard. The action packed first half, which saw a combined 12 shots, only yielded one score.
After the break, the Pioneers got in a rhythm offensively. In the 68th minute, McDonald was hit in stride by junior midfielder Matias Ruiz, and McDonald gave the hosts a two-goal lead. The Knights were able to trim the lead to 2-1 after a late goal, but the Pioneer defense stood strong late, not allowing a shot on goal in the final eight minutes.
The victory was the second straight for the Pioneers, as they look to string together some wins and make the National Tournament. Head Coach Andreas Lindberg and his squad hit the field next on Wednesday, Oct. 8, when they travel to Delaware to play the Wildcats of Wilmington University. Kickoff is slated for 3.30 p.m.