Men's Soccer Wins Tournament Opener

Trailblazers score twice in 2nd half for 3-1 win over Manhattan Christian College. It all came down to being calm.

The Ohio Christian University men's soccer team settled down during halftime of a 1-1 match, and scored twice in the second half to defeat Manhattan Christian College (Kan.) 3-1 on Wednesday in a National Christian College Athletic Association Division II tournament game at Kissimmee, Fla.

"At the end of the first half Manhattan tied the game, did a good job at possessing the ball and started to take control of the match," OCU coach Josh Murton said. "The big thing for us was to make a few adjustments at halftime, calm down, refocus and do what we're good at - possessing the ball and playing good defense." The Trailblazers (13-8) return to action today against No. 2 ranked Northland International at 2:30 p.m., with a web broadcast available at ccsnonline.com. OCU beat Northland 1-0 in double overtime during the regular season.

With 15 minutes left in the second half, the Manhattan keeper took out Josh Slone, resulting in a penalty kick for the Trailblazers, which Dave Blamo converted to put OCU ahead 2-1.

The Trailblazers put the match away with five minutes left on a counter play between Blamo and Shannon Ferrell. Blamo passed the ball to Ferrell, who returned the ball to Blamo. Three Manhattan defenders collapsed on Blamo, who then passed the ball back to Ferrell to score.

"This team has a lot of passion and drive to play hard for each other and to enjoy the game," Murton said. "We possessed the ball better in the second half and made good defense, except for a couple of mistakes, but it came down to the passion this team has to succeed.

"We had two freshmen playing for about 20 minutes, and they contributed to two of our three goals."

The Trailblazers scored their first goal 4:55 into the match when Kevin Street took the ball away from a defender and deposited it in the goal.

"Our goal was to come out in the first five minutes against a good team like Manhattan and get some momentum, and we were able to do that," Murton said.

Steven Fabian had 10 saves for the Trailblazers.

By Brad Morris
Sports Editor, Circleville Herald