NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – With the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference season fast approaching, Manchester University was in search of a victory against what has been a rugged line-up of non-conference opponents.
Coach Corey Brueggeman's team was finally able to gain such a win Sunday, Sept. 24. Junior forward Drake DeWitt (Columbia City, Ind.) smashed a shot in the box that ricocheted off a teammate and found its way past the out-stretched arms of DePauw University goalkeeper Austin Bodner in the 66th minute. His first goal of the season proved to be a game-winner as senior goalkeeper Brady Forman (Hastings, Mich.) repelled the Tigers' lone shot on goal try in the 90 minutes in route to his third clean sheet of the season.
"This is the confidence booster we've been wanting," Brueggeman noted after his program knocked off its instate foe for the first time in 13 tries. "It tells our players that we can play with very strong competition, some of the best around, as we head into conference play.
(Assistant coach) Isaac (Beal) and I simply told the guys to keep fighting at halftime," he added. "We'd been having the run of play and good possession for the most part. That aggressiveness finally paid off in the second half."
DeWitt, freshman forward Josh Gonzalez (Portage, Ind.) and junior midfielder Luke Headings (Bluffton, Ohio) led an 11-6 shots edge for the Spartans, tallying two each.
Manchester University (4-4) concludes its non-league schedule Tuesday, Sept. 26, traveling to Heidelberg University for a 7 p.m. kickoff. They follow that with their conference opener Saturday, Sept. 30, as Hanover College comes to North Manchester for a 3 p.m. start as part of a men and women's doubleheader.