By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–Western Mennonite knew how aggressive Gervais was going back to their first meeting on September 22 at Gervais.
Entering the second-half, the Pioneers matched the Cougars two-goals with a Keaton Hull and a Luke Williams goal with the game all knotted up at 2-all.
But Gervais, looking to stay afloat with Dayton breathing down their necks in the standings, came after Sean Webster and his defense; challenging the senior goalkeeper and scoring two more goals to pull ahead 4-2.
Looking as if the game was settled, Western Mennonite were looking for a spark from somewhere to build from for the League Playoffs if not now for a tie or a win.
That spark, came way of a Hull goal in the last few minutes of the game to cut it to 4-3 and giving the Junior a ‘brace’ in the game.
“We weren’t playing with life before that,” said Hull. “We were all like quitting, so that just helped with…every goal re-boost you, so that helped a lot. We didn’t pull it out, but it did get the tempo up.
That goal gave the Pioneers that figurative smelling salt that boxers get mid-match, because as soon as Hull hit that goal, Western Mennonite awoke.
Bringing pressure, the Pioneers came back swinging at Gervais. They don’t want to lose that number 2 seed entering the league playoffs as they kept returning the Cougars send from deep from their own terriotory.
Though Western Mennonite answered the bell, the scorecards were not in their favor. 4-3 Gervais was the final, and it was a bittersweet way to end their home season schedule for seniors like Webster.
“To be honest going into the game today was kind of a, ‘oh man, this is my last game. I got to put everything I got into’, and coming out losing, it hurts. It kills me,” describes Webster.
With Gervais, and Dayton right behind them at three and four, to remain number two for the Pioneers; Dayton needs to beat the Cougars. A Gervais win will most likely bump Western Mennonite to third in conference moving forward.
But now with it really do-or-die time, this last little finish the Pioneers did should do wonders for them moving forward.
“This last little bit will go into the next game because if we would have gone out the last 10 minutes and just nothing, that would carry on to the next game,” said Hull.”So it was good that we played with more energy the last 10 minutes so that was good.”
“We just have to have an intensity of, ‘This could be it. This is all we got, we got to put everything we have onto the field and leave nothing behind and have no regrets’,” adds Webster.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald