PORTSMOUTH — Despite falling behind by a 1-0 tally after Nathaniel Kaercher’s 13th-minute goal, the Shawnee State men’s soccer team continued to battle Cornerstone (Mich.) down to the final minute in its non-conference and season opener at Shawnee Turf.
As the saying goes, when teams don’t give in, good things tend to happen.
Trailing by the same 1-0 margin heading into the final minutes of play, Shawnee State used back-to-back goals by Kevin de Lange and Guillermo Conejo Martin to turn the tide for good in a 2-1 Bears’ victory on Thursday evening.
de Lange gets season
going with bang
Following Kaercher’s 13th-minute jaunt, Shawnee State — despite outshooting Cornerstone by an 18-8 count — couldn’t break the door down through 80 minutes of play.
However, that all changed in a hurry in the Bears’ first-ever meeting against the Golden Eagles.
Off of several strong advances, it turned out to be a familiar customer — de Lange — who capitalized the most.
His 83rd-minute goal gave him his first goal of the 2021 season, and the 44th of his career, as the Netherlands native changed the entire complexion of the game.
de Lange, who posted three shots in Thursday’s contest, now has 44 goals and 19 assists for his career.
He sits just four points away from matching Jeff Suter’s school record of 111 points for a single career.
Conejo Martin makes
significant difference in opener
Playing in his first-ever match with Shawnee State after making the trek from Spain to SSU, Conejeo Martin showed outstanding touch.
Not only did Conejo Martin lead Shawnee State’s offensive attack with four shots in all, but all of his shots were on target.
His 84th-minute blast came after the freshman redirected a rebound off a de Lange shot to the post, putting the resulting rebound into the net to put SSU in front.
van den Bergh, Markus
continue strong defensive play
As two of Shawnee State’s more significant defensive presences, Thierry van den Bergh and Bas Markus showed no loss of form to start their second season with SSU — helping lead the Bears to victory.
van den Bergh, who has handled corner kicking duties over the past two seasons, showed off his two-way effectiveness by posting three shots — helping loosen up a strong Cornerstone defense that allowed just 13 goals throughout the 2020 season.
Markus, meanwhile, made four saves — and was an effective communicator throughout the contest from his goalkeeping position.
Bram Voskuilen and Bobo Kikonda (three shots apiece) were also strong offensively, with Voskuilen — also making his first appearance in a SSU uniform — doing outstanding work on both ends of the pitch.
Shawnee State (1-0) returned to the pitch on Wednesday night — for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Mount Vernon Nazarene.
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club and https://givetossu.com/sponsorthebears.