MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois men's soccer team opened its season with a 3-0 win in an exhibition contest against Grand View at John MacKenzie Alumni Field on Monday evening.
Junior Ruben Gaytan (Gurnee, Ill./Warren Township) and freshman Tyler Chavez (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City) each scored a goal and senior Nathan Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Muskegon Western Christian) added an assist in the victory.
The Leathernecks got on the board in the closing minute of the first half, when a Viking player attempted to stop a Western Illinois shot, but instead headed it into the net for an own goal.
"We got our jerseys on, played another team and we got a win, so the guys are excited," head coach Dr. Eric Johnson said.
In the 83rd minute, Grand View turned the ball over in its own territory. Bruinsma took control of the ball and crossed it through the box where Gaytan drilled a shot into the left side of the goal.
Chavez closed out the scoring in the final seconds of the game. After his first shot at the net was blocked, he grabbed the rebound and drilled a shot into the right corner of the net.
Sophomore Zach Downes (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound) recorded a shutout, saving all three shots he faced, including a diving effort late in the first half.
The Leathernecks outshot Grand View 16-7, including an 11-3 advantage in the second half, while each team took three corner kicks."Both goals came off of good passes and both came on the counter-attack," Johnson said. "It's good that our newcomers got a taste of the field today, and the upperclassmen played well and led the young guys."
Western Illinois will participate in another exhibition on
Saturday, when Quincy comes to Macomb for a 5 p.m. contest at John MacKenzie Alumni Field.