As the Blackburn men’s and women’s soccer teams neared the end of their seasons, they each took to the field on Oct. 24 in their second to last contests of the year against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) rival MacMurray College. As Blackburn athletes and fans know, matchups against the Highlanders seem to bring a whole new level of competitiveness and intensity more than almost any other opponent, and this one did not disappoint.
When the men took the field, the 1-15 record of their opponents meant little as the Beavers soon realized. From the start of the match, the teams squared off in a tough and physical game that saw just one goal in the opening half.
That lone goal came off the foot of midfielder Jordan Allen when senior Lucas Rinderer raced up the right side of the field towards the endline and crossed it back towards the middle. The ball slipped through several players from both teams and found its way to the waiting foot of Allen who then made several moves on his defender before sending it past the MacMurray goalkeeper.
The Beavers’ 1-0 lead held until the 80th minute when senior Brandon Smith threw in from the far sideline to senior Reed Gwillim, who hit Rinderer with a pass and after a quick touch, the men increased their lead. With less than 10 minutes to play, the two-goal lead seemed fairly safe, but 30 seconds after Rinderer’s goal found the back of the net, senior Bobby Nash tallied his second career goal, sealing the 3-0 victory for the Beavers.
As they took the field, the women were looking for their third conference and fifth overall win, hoping to ride the momentum they carried from a 7-0 SLIAC victory over Eureka College. The fairly even contest between the Beavers and Highlanders left the match scoreless until sophomore Maya March connected and gave her team the 1-0 lead just five minutes before halftime.
The Blackburn lead was short lived, however, as Highlander forward Lyndi Saccaro scored the equalizer. The teams continued to battle in an intense half that saw three yellow cards. As the time ticked down, the aggressive play continuously grew, but the Blackburn women would not back down.
Just three minutes after Saccaro tied the game at one apiece, senior Meghan Sykora found junior Jasmine Tillman on a beautiful pass and shot to take the lead once more. As the clock continued to run and the win seemed closer with every passing second, the Highlanders had other plans. Saccaro raced past a defender and sent a ball towards the Blackburn goalkeeper, Maria Cline, who came charging out on the play. Cline made a terrific initial play on the ball, diving in hopes of preventing another equalizer. She was able to get her hands on the ball, but the force of the ground on her landing knocked the ball from her grip. The ball’s momentum from the initial shot sent it rolling right towards Highlander Emily Kolo, who put the rebound straight into the open net.
The Beavers and the Highlanders continued to fight as they played two periods of extra time, but neither team could muster another score as the match ended in a draw.