Wabash squares off against sixth-ranked Hope College

The undefeated streak of the Wabash soccer team came to an end against Hanover College, where they were defeated 2-1 in a closely-contested match.

During the first few games of the season, the Little Giants (3- 1-2) strung together consecutive wins off of goals from inspired first-year and second-year players such as Bryce Kinnaman ’27 and Jose Escalante ’26. The effort was sufficient to secure a sixth-place ranking in the region. Despite the setback, the soccer players view this game as a valuable learning experience.

“We were very disappointed with the loss,” said Myles Bernat ’26. “It definitely felt like we should’ve walked away with a minimum of a point. It felt like a punch in the gut.”

Hugo Garcia ’24 passes the ball in their home opener match against Anderson University at Fischer Field on September 12, 2023. | Photo by Elijah Greene ’25

The first 45 minutes of the game concluded with no goals scored, as Wabash’s defense maintained dominance, preventing the Panthers from creating any scoring opportunities. However, the first goal of the match came on a controversial foul in the 54th minute. The foul awarded Hanover a penalty kick, which Hanover converted, giving them the lead 1-0. Bruno Zamora ’25 managed to equalize, making the score 1-1. Despite the Little Giants’ 12 shots, they struggled to convert their dominance into goals.

In the end, despite having fewer shots, Hanover was able to find the net in the 86th minute to claim the victory.

Despite the loss, the team found motivation and hope from the game as they look forward to the Homecoming match.

“It’s the first loss of the year and it was a wake up call to push to be better,” said Bernat. “I feel as if the next few games our communication and execution are going to be much better.”

Among the most positive takeaways, players mentioned the importance of communication on the field. Additionally, midfielders emphasized the importance of translating good positioning with the ball to scoring points by analyzing the matches with coaches.

“We’ve been studying and watching films to identify our mistakes,” said Dever. “[We are] competing during practice to push ourselves and discuss tactics with coaches to prepare for Hope [College].”

While many teams would choose to line up an easy knock- out for their homecoming game, the Little Giants will be facing a Hope team ranked sixth in their own region. This will be a tough matchup, but the team has the credentials to get the job done. Although it may be the toughest nonconference matchup the team plays all year, it will be the perfect opportunity bounce back.

The Little Giants, still early in their season, will look to rebound against the 4-1-2 Flying Dutch at Fischer Field at 12 P.M. on Saturday. They will close out their non conference schedule versus Illinois Wesleyan University on September 26 and Adrian College on September 30.