Bluejay soccer team showing marked improvement

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor men’s soccer team came up empty in a two-game tour of Missouri over the weekend.

On Friday, the Bluejay men fell to William Woods University, 5-2, then lost to Central Methodist University on Saturday, 7-2.

“We played a very good team and handled them for the better part of 70 minutes,” coach Lincoln Wulf said of the William Woods match. “They were skilled in every position and started seven international players. Ultimately, we just ran ourselves flat and couldn’t keep up with them the last 15 or 20 minutes.”

WWU scored at the 10-minute mark after Tabor goalkeeper Ian Tomson made several outstanding stops. But Grant Brubacher tapped in a rebounded shot by Matt Statler to tie game five minutes later.

After WWU took a 2-1 lead, Brubacher again broke free behind the defense, received a nice pass from Jon Adrian and tied the score at 2-2.

Eventually, WWU’s depth took its toll on Tabor.

“Our conditioning caught up with us and we just ran out of gas,” Wulf said. “We started breaking down in back and making some silly mental mistakes and they pounced on them.

“All in all, we played fairly well against a superior team.”

The competition wasn’t any softer on Saturday, but Tabor was.

“We just never showed up to be quite honest,” coach Wulf said of the Central Methodist game. “I think the guys were thinking about the amusement park we were planning on going to on Sunday afternoon.”

Goalkeeper Ian Tomson was credited with three great saves in the first five minutes of the game.

But at the 15-minute mark, Wulf said the Bluejays let “a player run through unmarked onto a cross and it was 0-1.”

Tragedy struck minutes later when a Tabor player attempted to clear a ball, but it spun off his shin guard and into the Bluejay goal for another CMU score.

Tabor’s lone goal came from Jon Adrian late in the first half, but Tabor trailed 4-1 at halftime.

With KCAC action looming, Wulf said he elected to give several reserves some game experience in the second half and the final score was 7-1.

Bethel-Tabor lost a 3-1 match to Bethel College Sept. 8 in a non-conference battle.

“The thing we learned from this game is that we have to come out ready to dictate the pace of the game and not sit back and let the other team dictate it,” coach Lincoln Wulf said. “We were really flat to begin with and it took us a good 30 minutes of the first half to get into a rhythm.

“I thought we were prepared as well as we could be, but obviously we weren’t ready to play.”

Bethel scored the first goal in the 22nd minute of the first half and took its 1-0 lead into halftime.

Wulf said his halftime speech was effective-if only for a short time. “We came out and played pretty well,” he said.

Primary beneficiary of the added vigor was Grant Brubacher, who scored on an assist from Matt Statler to tie the game at 1-1.

But just as quickly as the fire appeared, it was doused by the Threshers.

“We let down again in the back and they ran right through us,” Wulf said. “As good as our defense was last week, it was that bad this week.”

The result was a pair of unanswered goals by Bethel at the 70th and 75th minute, giving the Threshers the 3-1 win.

Goal keeper Ian Thompson, while allowing three goals, also recorded five saves in the contest.

“We’re still a little unsettled in our lineup,” Wulf said. “It’s something that’s just going to take a few games to work out.

“The good news is that this game was not a conference game, so we’ll get another shot at Bethel in a couple of weeks.”

Coming-Tabor (1-3) begins KCAC play today (Wednesday) at Salina against Kansas Wesleyan beginning at 7 p.m.

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