NORTH NEWTON — A change of venue didn’t stop Central Christian College’s soccer teams on Saturday.
Because of heavy rains in McPherson during the week, the highly anticipated season openers were moved to Bethel College.
The Tiger teams proved to be road warriors by sweeping the KCAC member, with the men pulling off a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime victory after the women picked up where they left off from last year’s 20-win season with a 2-0 blanking.
Matthew Massey’s stunning 35-yard bomb in the second overtime gave the Tiger men the victory. Central actually dominated the game by doubling the Threshers in shots.
Oscar Gudino got the Tigers off on the right foot by scoring just 3 minutes into the game, but a Central mistake later in the half led to an own goal for the Threshers.
Joshua Taylor scored on a screamer from nearly 35 yards in the 77th minute to put CCC back up 2-1, but again it couldn’t stand its good fortune as it allowed a goal just a few minutes later.
“Great resilience from the guys tonight,” CCC coach Aaron Hoxie said. “I loved their work ethic and commitment to endure. They competed like crazy and earned the victory. We had 3 bangers (long goals) today, which was sorely needed, because we were really struggling in the attacking third. But we got just enough of that extra something to take us through the day. Congrats to all these kids for their efforts."
Antonio Ramirez-Villa picked up the win in goal with five saves.
• CENTRAL WOMEN 2, BETHEL 0 — CCC’s women, coming off a 20-6 season and fourth-place finish at the national tournament, dissected the injury-depleted Threshers, whose incredible rash of injuries left them with just 11 healthy players.
After a scoreless first half where Bethel packed it in to stay close, the Tigers broke through with a penalty kick by Nikki Neal and a goal by Rachel Meier, assisted by Jaci Carranza and Gabriela Barnard.
“We could've been sharper in our passing, smarter in our runs and more clinical with our finishing," CCC head coach Scott Fogarty said. “But you have to be happy with the result. We did what we had to. With four players playing together for the first time on the back line and a new goalie, we did a fantastic job to holding them to no shots. It took us six games or so last year to get our first clean sheet, so we're ahead of schedule in that regard. They'll have a challenge ahead of them in our next game though, but today we're happy. It'll take more time for the attack to gel, again with so many new players to fit in, but we're also not used to controlling games in this manner. We'll enjoy tonight but come tomorrow our focus shifts to the next game.”
Goldie Bougher was the winner in goal, but the defense made her job easy by not allowing the Threshers to make rushes.
Both Central teams make the short trip across town on Wednesday to take on McPherson College, which also swept its season opener on Saturday. The women’s game is at 5:30, with the men to follow.