The defense dominated for the Hesston College and Bethel College men’s soccer teams Thursday in a pre-season friendly at Thresher Stadium until the 88th minute.

Chris Torres breached the goal with 2:56 in regulation to put Bethel up 1-0.

Per NAIA rules for pre-season games, all stats are unofficial. The game was scheduled for Wednesday, but pushed back a day because of thunderstorms.

Both squads are breaking in a lot of new players for the upcoming season.

“I really wanted the opportunity to see every boy and I wanted the boys to have the opportunity to get out there and play,” Bethel coach James Cottage said. “It’s going to be tough to decide who’s who, but the boys have a great attitude. They took that on board and did a good job with that changeover.”

“I’m excited,” Hesston coach Matthew Gerlach said. “We’re trying to accomplish some things and work out some systems. We’re playing different guys. We have 17 freshmen. We’re trying to give them a chance to earn some quality time against a four-year school. It’s wonderful.”

Hesston has been together since Aug. 4, making a service trip.

“We did 525 hours on a service trip and trained in a full week of August,” Gerlach said. “We got to train a little that week. Then we’ve been together about a week and a half too.”

Bethel is fielding its largest squad in school history with more than 30 players.

“Tony Hoops, the athletic director, has done a good job of letting me take over this program,” Cottage said. “He’s done a fantastic job of letting me make this program my own, recruit the guys I want and make Bethel soccer what I want it to me. We have a big group, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Bethel has been together about 10 days. The Threshers are coming off a 1-14-2 season, 1-9-2 in KCAC play.

“Last year was really tough,” Cottage said. “There were some growing pains. We want to try and do our best in every game and grow as a group. The best you can hope for is have a good developmental season and be ready to do well at the end. We’re in a really good conference. I want to compete at the highest level and maybe get in the playoffs.”

The Larks are looking to improve on a 2-14-1 season, 0-12 in their first season of Jayhawk Conference play.

“We’re really excited about the future with these guys,” Gerlach said. “We’re going to move to Division II next year. It’s awesome to play against the best teams in the country, and that’s what we get to do in the Jayhawk. We have the potential, desire and work ethic to make great strides and have a year the team hasn’t had in a decade.”

Bethel held about a 55-45 possession advantage and a 3-2 advantage in total shots in the first half.

Hesston had several chances early in the second half. Possession went back to Bethel late in the game.

Hesston opens the season at 7:30 p.m. Monday at home against the Tabor JV.

Bethel has a scrimmage at 6 p.m. Saturday at Central Christian and opens the season Aug. 27 in Olathe against MidAmerican Nazarene, which received votes in the NAIA pre-season poll.

Unofficial stats

Hesston;0;0;—0

Bethel;0;1;—1

1. B Chris Torres (n/a) 87:04

Total shots — HC 2-3—3, BC 3-8—11. Shots on goal — HC 1-3—4, BC 2-5—7. Saves — HC: Tanner Unruh (45:00, 0 ga) 2-x—2; Daniel Ganoza (L, 45:00, 1 ga) x-4—4. BC: Albert Bratthammer (45:00, 0 ga) 1-x—1; Caleb Cushman (W, 45:00, 0 ga) x-3—3. Corner kicks — HC 0, BC 1. Fouls — HC 8, BC 16. Offside — HC 1, BC 2. Cautions — HC: n/a 48:40, Jacob Mojica 69:43. BC: Muhammed Jammeh 61:56.