The men's soccer team won their regular season finale 3-0 against the Goshen Maple Leafs and have now won four of their last five games.
The Trojans struck first in the 10th minute when senior David Maldonado hit a corner kick to the far corner to sophomore Danny Cawley who crossed the ball back into the box. Sophomore Tim Miller pounced and put the ball in the back of the net to give Taylor the early 1-0 lead.
In the 27th minute, junior Kevin Miller threw the ball in to Tim Miller who headed the ball into the box, and the ball eventually found Cawley, who scored his ninth goal of the season to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
"One of Goshen's defenders tried to clear the ball," Cawley said, "but it came to me in the center of the goal about 12 yards out. I just tried to keep the ball low, and luckily it managed to go past a few players feet into the corner."
In the 71st minute, senior Joel Ritz put the game away when he received a cross off a Maldonado corner kick and fired it at the goal. The ball deflected off the goalie and went into the back of the net to give the Trojans a commanding 3-0 lead, which they never relinquished.
"I think the difference in the game was our energy and work rate," Cawley said. "We knew Goshen (was) a big strong team, and we would have to work really hard to beat them. The midfield brought so much energy to the game and the forwards executed well, and the defense was solid throughout the game. It was a great team performance."
Taylor finished the season with a 9-8-1 record and tied for fifth with Marian in the Crossroads League Standings. Marian won the tiebreaker because they beat Taylor earlier this season, so Taylor received the sixth seed in the Crossroads League Tournament and will travel to Winona Lake, Ind., tomorrow to face Grace.
"It's gonna be a really tough battle," Tim Miller said. "Grace is a talented team, especially at home. Our conference is full of good teams so anything could happen. Coach often stresses the importance of not getting caught up in 'the moment' or a mindset of 'what if we lose?' Being clutch is about just performing normally under pressure. It's not rising to any occasion. . . . We gotta trust each other and pride ourselves in being the hardest working team."
The Trojans beat Grace earlier in the season 4-1 and have outscored them 13-1 in their last five games against them, which were all Trojan victories.
Taylor is expected to be without junior Matt Poland, who was All-Conference last year, but they will receive a boost this weekend as sophomore Tim Daniels returns from injury. He was a NAIA Honorable Mention All-American last year and scored 16 goals.
Head Coach Gary Ross' opinion about whether Taylor could win the tournament was, "Without a doubt. Whether we do or not is another scenario. . . . We're confident that we can beat anyone, but you have to do a lot of the small things really, really well, and we need to eliminate any defensive errors and finish the chances we get."
Tim Miller agreed with Ross and is confident in his team's chances in the Crossroads League Tournament."I think our team is starting to peak right now," he said. "We gotta do what we do. We don't need to change anything. If we commit ourselves to defending passionately and keeping the ball, that will help us improve."