Anderson, Ind. – The 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for the Transylvania men's soccer team resulted in a 1-1 draw between the Pioneers and the Anderson University Ravens at AU Soccer Field.
Entering the HCAC campaign as the reigning champions of regular season and conference tournament play in 2017, the Pioneers hit the pitch looking to begin conference play on Saturday with a positive result.
Instead, Saturday's affair between the Pioneers and Ravens was a gritty afternoon fraught with a fair share of opportunities for Transylvania but few conversions for either side.
For the first half hour, chances were sparse for both Transy and Anderson. The Ravens earned two corner kicks in the first six minutes of the match but were unable to parse the defensive back line of Transylvania.
After the first half hour of the match, the goal began to thaw for both teams as sophomore striker Griffin Lamb and junior striker Charlie Wend each delivered shots. The Pioneers would end up outshooting Anderson 20-12 on the afternoon.
Anderson struck first in the 37th minute as Race Williams scored his fourth goal of the season for the Ravens to put the home team up on Transylvania, 1-0. The Pioneers mustered one final shot on goal from freshman back Jak Birdsong just before halftime but Ravens keeper Adam Mrzlak came up with the denial.
Transylvania's offensive hero appeared in the form of junior striker Alex Shkraba early in the second half as he sent in an equalizer in the 55th minute to level the match at 1-1, his third score of the season.
From there, the Pioneers continued to bring the pressure as Tyler Dobbs manifested two shots over the following two minutes and a header from senior back Tyler Joy-Brandon was saved by Mrzlak. The Anderson goalie ended the day with eight saves to three for Transylvania junior goalkeeper Drew Grisham.
The offenses for both teams went into a deep freeze over the final 10 minutes of regulation as overtime was required. In the first overtime, each side created one header but neither was able to find the game-winning goal.
The Pioneers delivered another five shots in the second overtime but could not find the second goal for a conference-opening victory.
Transylvania continues conference play on Wednesday, October 3 as they visit the Earlham College Quakers in Richmond, Indiana. The afternoon match is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start at Matlack-Messer Stadium.
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