This past weekend the Crusaders traveled to Arkansas to face the Lyon College Scotts (NAIA). Having won both of their previous away matches, the drive to Arkansas would not stop the Dallas boys from putting up a fight. The return of senior forward/midfielder and co-captain Michael Chapman encouraged Dallas as much as their previous road victories. Chapman, a four-year starter, returned from his second knee surgery to face Lyon College in his first match of the season.
The opening five minutes of the first half caught the Crusaders off guard. A miscommunication on the defensive side caused a ball intended to be played out of the box to land about six yards from the goal. The ball was consequently finished, resulting in an early lead for Lyon. The next 20 minutes of the match were dominated by Dallas. Central midfielders Matthew Wise and William Sanchez slotted balls left and right to the Crusaders’ wings. The wingers continued to play the ball back into the box for a headed finish and a hopeful goal. After multiple close attempts from the flanks, multiple shots were taken from outside the box, throwing off the Lyon defense and landing Dallas multiple opportunities. Utilizing the strategy previously stated, a very close shot was taken. Wise dashed through the center of the defense, anticipating the ball being played outside to the wing. Wise, on the contrary, cut further into the midfield, beating their defensive midfielder and launching a shot that just missed the top corner of the net.
After pressing Lyon’s defense for some time, a counter attack arose that resulted in a second goal for Lyon. In the 32nd minute, a stolen pass was played to Lyon’s midfield who launched it over the top. Lyon’s forward pushed onward and shot around the Dallas defense. The ball slid just under junior goalkeeper James Kerin. Though frustrated, Dallas knew they could fight their way back into the match.
Answering to this call was freshmen Nathan Nwaeze. After the ball was crossed into the box by junior Billy Stofer, Nwaeze flew to the back post and caught the ball while it was being juggled by Lyon’s defense. Running through the keeper, Nwaeze landed the Crusaders their first comeback goal and put the Crusaders back into the match just before the second half.
The second comeback goal, or equalizer, occured just minutes into the first half, when freshman Wise flew into the midfield, chested down a bouncing ball and volleyed it into the opponent’s net. Now a 2-2 game, the assault alternated between goals until the last 10 minutes of the match. With tired legs, the Crusaders defended their goal with everything they had left. Balls flew wide and were deflected until the whistle for overtime blew. The first half of overtime was the only half of overtime played, as Lyon scored off of a ricocheted shot. The ball was played from the defense through the midfield and then played back outside to Lyon’s left flank. The shot from the pass was deflected by freshmen keeper Casey Shanks. Unfortunately, the ball again bounced right outside UD’s six-yard box and right in front of an incoming Lyon midfielder who finished the goal.
Although it was an unfortunate loss after such a physical and long match, the effort and quality of play the Dallas boys displayed represents great improvement from their opening match and gives rise to great hopes for their conference schedule. Dallas begins conference play this Friday at Birmingham-Southern in Alabama.