Last Wednesday evening the Johnson University Royals met for a match against the NAIA's University of Pikeville Bears. This was the first offcial home match of the season for Johnson, but due to the construction of a new athletic facility at their campus South Doyle High School graciously opened their facilities for the Royals' use.
The Bears came out strong in the first half and tested the strong defense of the Royals. Pikeville was able to dominate possesion in the first half but the Royals held them scoreless until the 33rd minute when a free kickmfrom near the corner was placed into the box by Harry Hill and finish to the front post by Eric Bernebeu to put the Bears up 1-0 at halftime. Momentum was once again taken by Pikeville in the 46th minute when the Royals GK mishandled a cross which made its way to Max Isenberg, who found himself in the right place at the right time for the Bears' second goal. After a few more minutes of attack by Pikeville and several beautiful saves by Royals' GK Brant Rothbauer (SO/Youngstown, OH), Johnson was able to find some success in possesing the ball. As the intensity of the game continued to rise, a pressuring Caleb Moore (FR/Alcoa, TN) found himself on the end of a poor clear by the Bears' GK which he calmly finished from 25 yards out to bring the Royals within 1 with only 18 min remaining. As the Royals continued to take advantage of the Bears' fatigue with high pressure, they found themselves with a throw in from near the corner. Willy Phiri (JR/Zimbabwe) threw the ball near the corner of the six-yard box to an oncoming Kyle Hathaway (SO/Martinsville, VA) who flicked the ball to the feet of Caleb Moore. The freshman found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season to tie the ball game. Despite a couple more opportunities for the Royals to capture the win, the settled for a hard fought tie against a high quality opponent.
The Royals (1-2-1) next play Crown College on September 19th at 7pm. The game will once again be played at South Doyle High School.