The Lakes opened the campaign with a solid 9-2 win over Lincoln Christian in their opener on Saturday afternoon, earning the first three points in the conference table in the process.
The supporters were forced to wait twenty minutes to see the first goal of the match, when Izzy Sesay cashed in on a penalty to give the Crusaders the 1-0 lead.
The floodgates opened up at that point, and Great Lakes scored three goals in quick succession, two by striker Brandon Coleman, and another one from Sesay, to lead 4-0 by the 26th minute. The Red Lions were able to pull one back late in the first half, but Coleman scored again right on half time to give himself an early hat-trick and his team a substantial 5-1 half time advantage.
The Crusaders picked up right where they left off in starting the second half, as winger Kyle Wheatley scored one to increase the margin to five. Lincoln managed to pull one more back, only to see Great Lakes pull even further ahead with three goals down the stretch from Peter Stebbins, Wheatley, and Stebbins again to push the final score line to 9-2.
The result really isn’t unexpected, as the Crusaders defeated LCU by the nearly identical line of 9-3 a year ago; nevertheless, a win is a win, especially against a conference opponent, and it is an encouraging sign of what is hopefully to come for this squad.
“For our first game of the season I am pleased,” said head coach Justin Braman, “I’m excited for the talent and commitment I have in my players this year, and with some work in a few weak areas I feel we have a team to challenge for a top spot in our region.”
Game notes: Jeremy Klepal led the team with four assists. In addition to his three goals, Brandon Coleman also contributed a pair of assists. Izzy Sesay contributed one assist, as did Anthony Bunch. Danny Buegar received a yellow card for a hand ball.
Up Next: The Crusaders host Davenport University’s JV team on September 16th at Henderson Field.