Less than five minutes into last week’s crucial mid-week Appalachian Athletic Conference contest between Bryan men’s soccer and the visiting Reinhardt University (Ga.) squad, sophomore midfielder and London, England native Haaris Hussain dished out his third assist on the season after finding senior midfielder from Norwich, England, Brad Spooner, for the game-winning goal. Spooner’s strike that was buried into the back of the net at 4:36 into the opening period was the lone score in the full 90 minutes of action, as the Lions won 1-0 to improve to 5-4-2 overall and a notable 5-1-1 in AAC play. Since then, the Eagles have picked up another conference win, but the Lions still own the edge with Reinhardt sitting 6-5-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the AAC.
23rd-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan University currently leads the conference at 11-2-2 overall and 6-1-1 in the AAC, Montreat College (N.C.) trails with a 9-4-1 overall record and 6-2-1 conference record, while Union College (Ky.) round out the top-3 with a 7-6-1 overall record and 6-1 mark against AAC opponents.
Bryan was causing issues for Reinhardt on both sides of the ball, with the Lions outshooting the Eagles 12-5 and capitalizing for six on goal while holding the Eagles to only five shots and one on target. For Bryan keeper Igor Espleter, the clean sheet against Reinhardt was the first shutout of the year for the freshman goalkeeper hailing from Itajai, Brazil. Despite allowing the lone goal of the outing, the Eagles’ keeper Niko Tzevelekos made spectacular stops between the posts. Espleter notched one save, and Tzevelekos ended with five.
Leading the Lions in the shot’s column was Spooner with five total attempts and an efficient four on goal, followed by Aaron Attree’s pair of shots with one on target. Jonathan Ricketts, Josh Cash, Joe Goreham, Hussain, and Artur Dombrowski each recorded one shot apiece.
Up next this week is Bryan’s most formidable AAC foe yet in No. 23 Tennessee Wesleyan. The top-ranked Bulldogs play host to the Lions on Tuesday