• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Midway U. soccer teams begin play

Midway University’s women’s and men’s soccer teams opened their seasons last week, with the women scoring a 10-0 win over Johnson (Tenn.), and, in the first game of the program’s history, the men lost a hard-fought game to Rio Grande 4-0. Here’s a recap of both games. Women’s Soccer The Midway University women’s soccer team got its 2016 season off to a successful start on Thursday, Sept. 8, when it notched a 10-0 victory over Johnson (Tenn.) at the Midway Soccer Field. The Eagles scored five goals in the first half and added five more in the second frame to come away with the 10-0 victory. Midway’s offense was too much for the Royals, as the Eagles tallied 22 shots with 15 of those on goal. The Eagles’ stifling defense allowed the Royals just two shots on goal for the game. Freshman Regan Snyder got the scoring started for the Eagles in the opening minute when she found the back of the net off a pass from senior Haley Ennis, giving Midway a 1-0 lead. Senior Sara Herbert then added to the lead when she scored back-to-back goals in the fifth and 15th minutes to make the lead 3-0. Herbert’s second goal came off of a pass from junior Kindsay Miller-Riney. Making the lead 4-0 in the 17th minute was Ennis off a pass from Miller-Riney. Miller-Riney then found her name in the scoring column in the 27th minute when she capped off the scoring in the opening half. Miller-Riney was right back at it in the second frame when she opened with back-to-back goals to finish off her hat trick in the 51st minute with an assist from junior Ciara Weir. With the lead up to 7-0, Herbert finished off her hat trick with a goal in the 54th minute off a pass from Snyder making the lead 8-0. Freshman Larissa Cussins extended the lead to 9-0 in the 56th minute when she scored the first goal of her young collegiate career. Freshman Regan Snyder capped off the scoring in the 69th minute when she scored the final goal of the game off a pass from freshman Jordyn D’Oench. Picking up the win in goal for the Eagles was junior Emily Belt, who split time with senior Lauren Schuster in goal. Belt played the first half, while Schuster played the final 45 minutes in goal and finishing with two saves. Men’s Soccer The Midway University men’s soccer team made history on Saturday, Sept. 10, when it played on the road against Rio Grande (Ohio) in its first-ever game since Midway made the decision to go coed last spring. While the Eagles played hard all game long, Rio Grande got the win at 4-0. Midway’s team consisted of seven players from St. Catharine College – an institution that closed over the summer; three transfers from Talladega (Ala.); and nine freshmen who were playing in their first collegiate soccer game. The head coach of the Eagles, Tim Wolz, was also coaching in his first game as a Midway Eagle. Wolz also came over from St. Catharine and was able to keep some of his team together from last year’s team at St. Catharine. As if battling the nerves of playing in their first-ever game as a program wasn’t enough, the Eagles’ opponent was the defending NAIA National Champion and top-ranked team in the country, Rio Grande (Ohio). In addition, the game was also tabbed as the first installment of the River States Conference Game of the Week, the first since the conference changed its name from the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on July 1. The Eagles were not only battling the top-ranked team on the pitch, but they were also fighting the elements of a fierce rain that lasted throughout the first half and into parts of the second half. The Red Storm had opportunities in the first half and did what any good team does, capitalizing on the opportune time. The home team scored four goals in the first 30 minutes of the game as the Eagles were getting accustomed to playing with each other for the first time. After allowing those four goals, the Eagle defense clamped down and didn’t allow the defending National Champion to score over the final 15 minutes of the first half and over the entire second half. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way the guys battled tonight,” said Wolz. “We were getting used to playing with each other in the first half and allowed four goals, but in the second half the guys really stepped up. The performance in the second half shows we have a bright future ahead.” Rio Grande had chances to score in the final 60 minutes, but the Midway defense stepped up to the challenge. They had two chances to add to the lead late in the first half, but junior goalkeeper Christian Neira was able to make two key saves. Neira also stepped it up in the second half. First he made a save early in the stanza, and then in the 77th minute he faced the toughest test of them all – a penalty kick. The Red Storm were awarded a PK after a tackle in the box, but Neira embraced the challenge and made a diving save to keep the game at 4-0. For the game, Neira made seven saves. Junior Max Bristow tallied the only shot on goal for the Eagles. Junior Harry Kirwan and senior Joe Jessop collected the other two shots, but neither were on frame. Midway plays its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m. against Marian (Ind.). (Information courtesy of Dylan Brown / Midway Uni. Sports Information Director)

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