On a humid, overcast Parents Day, Anderson defeated Blackburn 2-1 in an overtime thriller to win the Raven/Spartan Classic. Anderson advanced to the championship game of the Classic after defeating Moody Bible Institute 3-0 in semifinal play.
In the semifinal tilt, Guimps Pierre, Justin Bottorff and Race Williams all recorded their first goals of the season. Bottorff also assisted on Williams’ goal and Victor Mweu had the assisting pass on Pierre’s. Brandon Weer and Ben Lapham combined for the clean sheet, recording a combined three saves.
In Saturday’s championship match, the Ravens thoroughly dominated the Beavers, outshooting them 19-7, yet trailed until the 59th minute. Blackburn jumped out to an early lead on a goal by Nate Kinnison, a lead they held throughout the first half. The Ravens controlled possession and took twice as many shots in the first half, yet squandered many scoring opportunities in the first 45 minutes.
At the half, the Ravens were frustrated that they had not yet scored. “We knew we had been dominating the game,” said sophomore midfielder Jacob Pokorski, “and we knew we deserved the win. We just needed someone to step up and put the ball in the back of the net.” After making some halftime adjustments, Cory Baker was that “someone” to step up. Baker tied the match at 1 on a goal in the 59th minute. Daniel Collins and Justin Bottorff both assisted on the goal.
After breaking the seal, the Ravens stepped up the tempo even more. The Ravens racked up 10 shots in the second half, while limiting the Beavers to only 3, yet were unable to break the tie. Matthew O’Guinn, the Blackburn goalie, played an exceptional game in holding the Ravens to only one goal in the 90 regulation minutes. Though the Ravens controlled all aspects of the second 45 minutes, an overtime period was needed to determine a winner.
Off of a Pokorski header, freshman Daniel Collins put a brilliant left footed volley into the goal, ending the sudden death overtime period and giving the Ravens the 2-1 victory. This was the first goal of Collins’ young college career. Pokorski, already the Ravens’ leading goal scorer on the year, picked up his second assist of the season on the play to tie for the team lead.
“Winning on an overtime goal was a great feeling. We had been having trouble putting the ball in the net, so when Collins put the shot in, it was an exciting moment for us all,” Pokorski said. The bench rushed the field to surround Collins after his goal.
The win improved the Ravens record to 3-1 on the season. They are on the road for their next three games, traveling to MacMurray College, Robert Morris College and Wabash College.
After starting the season 3-1, the Ravens have momentum heading into the remainder of the season. Looking ahead, Pokorski added, “We were ranked 7th in the preseason polls and we plan on proving we should be ranked higher than that. I am excited for the rest of this season and can’t wait to see where it takes us.”