Cougars post shutout victory in season opener

The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s soccer team had an impressive start to the 2015 season Friday night in a 2-0 win at Asbury University (Ky.). The Cougars defense held the Eagles in check all night and a relentless offensive attack in the second half provided the two goals needed for the victory.

“I’m very proud of our team’s response to a difficult day of travel and they were ready at game time,” Head Coach Andrew Belleman said. “We started strong and eventually broke through late in the second half. We created very positive chances tonight and this was a strong team performance. We have a tough turnaround tomorrow with an afternoon kickoff so we will have to get ourselves ready to go.”

MVNU (1-0-0) went right to work and unloaded the first shot on goal in the third minute of Friday night’s contest. Joshua Alexander had the first attempt of the night and the season which ended up being the first of five saves for the Asbury (0-2-0) defense in the opening 45 minutes. Alexander had three shots on goal with Thorben Glusing and Zach Griffiths having looks at the goal as well. Cougar goalie Adam Miller turned away one shot late in the first half, which came off the foot of Jesse Peterson.

The two teams headed to the locker room at halftime locked in a scoreless tie, although MVNU had the upper hand statistically. The Cougars outshot the Eagles 8-1 and had a 4-1 edge in corner kicks. Five saves by the Asbury defense in the first period kept them right in contention.

Persistence paid off for the Cougars in the 58th minute when Preston Spurrier found the back of the net for what would prove to be the game winner. Spurrier, who led MVNU in points last season with 20, was able to punch the ball into the open net after Alexander threaded the ball to him through the Eagles defense. Alexander was credited with the assist on the play.

In the 82nd minute the Cougars collected an insurance goal when Glusing connected on his first collegiate goal. The freshman forward beat goalie Brandon Patterson for the unassisted score when he came out to contest the shot. Glusing proceeded to chip it over his head and into the back of the net.

MVNU ended the night out-shooting Asbury 22-3 while boasting a 10-3 edge in corner kicks. Glusing led the Cougars with seven total shots (three on goal) followed by Alex Hahne with six shots. Miller (1-0-0) logged the victory in net with a pair of saves in Friday night’s match.

Doug Ward, Zach Braun, and Peterson had the only shots for the Eagles and Patterson suffered the loss in goal after allowing both scores. He was credited with seven of the 11 Asbury saves.