There was a festive mood prior to Asbury’s first men’s soccer game against the Montreat College Cavaliers, largely in thanks to the tailgate organized before the game that brought enough cheering fans to pack the bleachers and line the fences for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
On the field, early nerves were obvious, especially in the Eagles’ defense. Montreat were unlucky not to capitalize on several mistakes made by the Asbury back line, most notably a completely free header from Montreat’s Blake Kennedy that went just wide of the Asbury goal in the 15th minute.
The Eagles began to grow in confidence as the first half continued, Jesse Peterson had a slaloming run into the box before getting his shot blocked by the Montreat goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Craig Moberley who was unlucky to see his shot saved off the line by a defender.
Asbury’s ambitions were rewarded ten minutes from halftime when a low cross from Austin O’Brien was met by senior Garret Davis who put the ball off the inside of the post and into the goal with his first touch.
The game was mostly quiet at the start of the second half as Asbury began to take more and more control, although they were nearly caught out by a quick break from Montreat in the 60th minute when a ball over the top found Cavalier attacker Lewis Jones, who split the defenders and beat the goalkeeper with his shot, only to see it sail just over the bar.
Freshman Ryan Metcalf provided the Eagles with some insurance when he met Chris Israel’s cross and powered the ball into the back of the net with his head to make the score 2-0. Goalkeeper John Burns bailed his team out minutes later with a great save one-on-one after Montreat’s Jones once again beat the defense with a burst of speed.
Garret Davis popped up soon after, pouncing on a low cross from O’Brien and tapping the ball in from short range to make the score 3-0 with twenty minutes still left to play. Burns was called on again in the game’s dying moments to keep the clean sheet and came up with another big save from Montreat’s Gavin Kneeshaw.
After the game, head coach Ben Andrews was happy with the way his team played, despite the early mistakes, “We got a couple guys out there that don’t have a lot of experience,” Andrews said. Despite this, he’s still confident going forward, adding that, “they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the energy and they’ve got the will. But it’s the experience that we’re lacking, that alone will fix itself with more games.”
The Eagles’ next home game will be on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. against IUPUI-Fort Wayne.
Man of the Match: Garrett DavisAustin O’Brien provided two assists and John Burns was called on to make some big saves to keep the clean sheet, but it was Davis’s excellent position and cool finishing that made sure that the Eagles came out on top.