NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College men's soccer team fell to Bethany Lutheran College 2-1 just two days after it had fallen short by one goal to the same team in Mankato.
Saturday's match between MLC and BLC was an important match in Upper Midwest Athletic play. Bethany was tied for second place in the conference with 15 points to start the day, and MLC found itself just outside of the top four in fifth place. The Vikings needed a win to potentially stay in a tie for second place, while the Knights were trying to secure themselves a playoff spot by cracking into the top four teams in the conference.
The Knights outshot the Vikings 13-5 in the first half, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net. MLC freshman Aaron Markgraff had an oppurtunity to score when he got the rebound from Nathan Graumann's shot, but his shot sailed over the goal.
Bethany scored soon afterward at 39:59 when Laye Kaba's shot went off the diving goalie's arm and into the back of the goal.
The Knights were able to tie the game up just 10 minutes into the second half off of a goal by Markgraff. Markgraff received the ball at midfield and started his run, during which he beat two BLC defenders and put a touch shot past the BLC goalkeeper for his fifth goal of the season.
"I don't necessarily like that play all the time, but I told the guys at halftime that this game was going to come down to the person who tries to do the extra thing, and that is what he did," said MLC coach Paul Koelpin.
Eric Hahn kept MLC in the game with his solid play in goal, recording eight saves in the second half alone and 10 saves in the match.
The Vikings scored the game-winning goal, however, after they got a 5-3 advantage on a fastbreak. Jorge Perez passed the ball off to Michael Loguercio, who was able to get the ball past Hahn.
The Knights had an oppurtunity to score in the final minute on a corner kick, but it was well defended by Bethany, which was able to clear the ball out as the clock expired.
"Bethany is a very good team and we competed with them," Koelpin said. "Obviously, we didn't do enough to win, but we played hard and we competed with them."
Jacob Shepherd led the Knights with five shots, while Markgraff took four shots.
MLC (4-9, 3-5) plays again on Friday when it travels to take on Crown College.