LIMA - There's only so many chances a person gets to make history, and the University of Northwestern Ohio men's soccer team took full advantage of their chance Saturday. The Racers opened their inaugural season with a 3-0 win against Mount Vernon Nazarene University at Racers Field.
The first goal scored in UNOH history went to freshman forward Malakai Field, who got behind the defense and beat the goalkeeper at the 8 minute, 34 second mark of the first half.
"It feels great," Field said. "I've worked hard over the last two weeks in training. It's good to get one in the first game of the season, to have my name in history."
To watch an interview with Field, follow this link.
Getting the early goal helped settle the nerves a bit, according to UNOH coach Gavin Oldham.
"Getting that early goal was great," he said. "It allowed us to possess the ball a little bit. Not as much as I'd like, but enough."
The Racers held sway through the entire first half, putting Oldham's plan to play possession ball in perfect action. The teams entered halftime with the UNOH 1-0 lead, despite the Cougars (1-1-1) holding a 4-1 edge in shots.
The Cougars played the second half with more energy and took the action to UNOH, totaling eight shots for the half. However, few really challenged goalkeeper Liam Davies as the defense held.
"It was a tough win, we worked hard for it. I think all the boys put in a good shift," team captain Ryan Cotton said. "We went in up at halftime and, fair play, they did put a bit of pressure on us a few times where I thought they would score, but the boys dug in.
"It's a short preseason, it's very hot today, but like I said, all the boys are in it 100 percent."
Follow this link to watch an interview with Cotton.
As Oldham said after the game, a 1-0 lead never makes a coach comfortable, but the Racers received some breathing room when Cotton connected on a penalty kick to the upper right side of the net at 76:34.
Kyle Lewis added the final tally at the 81:18 mark, fighting through a scrum in front of the net to punch in the goal.
"My heart is still beating pretty quick. It hasn't fully sunk it," Oldham said. "The boys worked hard today. … I think the best team won today. Fair due to Mount Vernon, they're a good team."
You can see an interview with coach Oldham by clicking this link.
There are still plenty of things for the Racers to work on; the team had been together for a total of 13 days before the opening game, and most were still adjusting to life on a new continent.
But thanks to the work the team has put in over the last two weeks, and the quality roster assembled by Oldham and assistant coach Chris Williams, the Racers made history.