The Bethel College men’s soccer team spent 99 minutes and 52 seconds pounding away at rival Tabor College Wednesday in KCAC play at Thresher Stadium with nothing to show for it.
It was the 53rd second that proved to be the difference as senior Chris Torres put a direct kick from just outside the penalty area just over Tabor goalkeeper Derrick Eszlinger for a 1-0 Bethel win.
Torres was one of three BC seniors honored on senior day.
“We had seven seconds left in overtime,” Torres said. “It was time for someone to put it in the back of the net. We deserved it. My team worked hard for it for 90 minutes and overtime. We feel it shouldn’t have gone to overtime. I feel it was time.”
The game was played in temperatures in the upper 20s with a strong north wind. A dusting of snow was starting to cover the field.
Bethel held a 28-4 advantage in total shots. Albert Bratthammar, another BC senior, had two saves for the clean sheet. Eszlinger had 11 saves for the Bluejays.
“We have a young team and they don’t understand everything yet,” Torres said. “I just had to remind them to keep their cool and keep playing our style of game and we’ll be successful.”
“It was frustrating with the shot count,” Bethel coach James Cottage said. “Twenty eight to four is a big advantage, but if you don’t score, it doesn’t make any difference. I was so happy for Chris to get the winning goal at the end.”
Bethel went against the wind in the first half and haf an 11-1 advantage in shots, 3-1 on goal. Bethel also controlled possession for most of the half.
The Threshers continued to take shot after shot in the second half to no avail. Tabor had nine players packed into the defensive third.
Tabor got its first shot on goal with 1:03 in regulation. Bethel followed with a shot 24 seconds later.
Tabor got another shot with about two minutes left in the first half of overtime.
Tabor drops to 2-12-2, 1-9 in KCAC play. Bethel is 5-11, 4-6 in KCAC play. The Threshers are in ninth place in the conference with two games left, one game out of both seventh and eighth. The top eight advance to the conference playoffs. Bethel holds the tie-breaker over Sterling, but Saint Mary holds the tie-breaker over Bethel for the last two playoff spots.
“I’m hopeful the other results go our way ff we can take care of business Saturday and our final game,” Cottage said. “All we can do is control what we can and try to win those games. The playoffs would be nice. The teams we play are below us, but they are fighting just as hard. We just have to bring good performances like we did at the end of this game.”
Bethel plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Ottawa, which is 2-13, 2-7 in KCAC play.
“We need to elevate our play, so we can finish out the season strong and make it to the playoffs,” Torres said. “
1. B Chris Torres (unassisted) 99:53
Total shots — TC 1-2-(1-x)—4, BC 11-14-(3-x)—28. Shots on goal — TC 0-1-(1-x)—2, BC 3–7-(1-x)—11. Saves — TC: Derrick Ezlinger (L) 3-7-(1-x)—11. BC: Albert Bratthammar (W) 0-1-(1-x)—2. Corner kicks — TC 2, BC 12. Fouls — TC 12, BC 12. Offside — TC 0, BC 0. Cautions — TC: Johnley Dezile 78:53.