The Bethel College men’s soccer team ended the pre-season 2-0, stopping sister school Hesston College 2-1 in the annual Old 81 Derby at Thresher Stadium.
Bethel dominated the first half. The Larks woke up in the second half and got back in the game.
“Our guys took it a little bit easy and their guys came to play,” Bethel coach Victor Garcia-Bebek said. “Their guys played pretty well. They tried to put pressure on us and make us feel uncomfortable. For many moments, they did that. It’s one of those games where you get the result. It’s a win.”
“We’re trying to get guys minutes, trying to look at some combinations,” Hesston coach Matt Gerlach said. “We have 18 freshmen, guys who have never stepped on a college field before. We’re trying to get them minutes, so when they are called on in a game, they’re ready to go.”
The game was Hesston’s first and only pre-season match.
“We had a nice opportunity to train in Colorado,” Gerlach said. “The team chemistry came together beautifully. We’re ready to compete together in Region VI.”
Bethel had about a 60-40 possession advantage in the first half, but generated few attacks early. The Threshers took the first shot of the game and scored when Enrique Trujillo took a ball off the defense and put a shot in the upper right corner of the goal in the 26th minute.
Bethel struck again in the 39th minute when Chris Torres put in a Jonas Tingberg corner kick.
Bethel had two other scoring chances in the half, including one kicked off the goalline by a Hesston defender. The Threshers held a 6-3 advantage in shots in the first half.
Bethel missed several chances early in the second half. Hesston got on the board when Nadeem Jaber took a ball off a Bethel defender and put it past Bethel keeper Kobi Russom in the 52nd minute.
Russom and starting keeper Albert Bratthmar each had two saves in goal for Bethel. Luke Hertzler had two saves for Hesston. Bryson White had four saves in the second half.
Hesston opens the season at 5 p.m. Friday at home against the Bethany junior varsity. The Larks are trying to turn around a team that finished 5-12-1 last season.
“We’re trying to bring in kids who are going to fit our system, who are good players and willing to work and are good at the game,” Gerlach said. “I think we’re building on that. We’re going to surprise some people. The quality is there to make that transition.”
Bethel opens the season at 5 p.m. Saturday at Saint Gregory’s in Shawnee, Okla. Bethel fell to Saint Gregory’s 1-0 last year in North Newton. The Cavaliers went 5-11 last season.
“They have a history of being a good program,” Garcia-Bebek said. “We have some guys who had injuries today. We hope to get them rested. We have some guys still ineligible and hopefully, we can get their paperwork. We need the numbers.”
1. B Enrique Trujillo (unassisted) 25:43
2. B Chris Torres (Jonas Tingberg) 38:39
3. H Nadeem Jaber (unassisted) 52:00
Total shots — HC 3-5—8, BC 6-4—10. Shots on goal — HC 2-3—5, BC 5-4—9. Saves — HC: Luke Hertzler (L, 45:00, 1 ga) 2-x—2; Bryson White (45:00, 0 ga) x-4—4. BC: Albert Bratthmar (W, 45:00, 0 ga) 2-x—2; Kobi Russom (45:00, 1 ga) x-2—2. Corner kicks — HC 4, BC 7. Fouls — HC 9, BC 12. Offside — HC 1, BC 1. Cautions — HC: Djay Taylor 52:55, Anawin Boonprasert 76:43.