By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's soccer squad hosted Franklin College in an HCAC battle on Saturday, Oct. 6. It was a wire-to-wire contest, but the Grizzlies were able to edge out the Beavers after a late, go-ahead goal gave Franklin a 2-1 win over Bluffton. The heartbreaking defeat dropped Bluffton to 1-11 on the season and kept them winless in the conference at 0-3. The Grizzlies improved to 3-9 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
The Beavers would get on the board first in the 19th minute after Jacob Kiger (Groveport/St. Charles Prep) powered home a goal to give Bluffton a 1-0 advantage. Bluffton just missed out on another goal five minutes later when Christian Zapata (Livonia, Mich./Adlai E. Stevenson) ripped a shot off the post. Strong defensive play by the Beavers kept the score at 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Grizzlies broke the ice in the 73rd minute when Franklin's Jordan Thomas hit paydirt off an assist by Sam Stallsmith which evened up the contest at 1-1. Thomas went to the well again just over aa minutes later, putting Franklin up with six minutes to play. Bluffton would have an attempt to tie the game up in the 87th minute after a Zapata kick but it was knocked away by Franklin keeper Jake Hendricks. Another attempt to even up the game came at the 89 minute mark when Dalton Taynor (Troy/Miami East) took a header, but that shot was again saved by Hendricks.
Kiger led the Beaver offense, firing a total of three shots on the day, including Bluffton's first half goal. The Bluffton offense finished on the short end of a 22-11 Franklin shooting advantage. Hunter Fleck (North Baltimore/Van Buren) did solid work, collecting six saves on the afternoon.
The Beavers will look to put a tally in the win column when they host Earlham College on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!