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Cougars Come From Behind to Defeat Manhattan

(11/9/11) In a wild turn of events, Clearwater Christian College defeated Manhattan Christian College 4-3 in the NCCAA National Quarterfinal match. Senior forward Drew Custer was a dominant force, scoring 1 goal and assisting on 2 others to drive the offensive attack and will the Cougars to the win.

The match couldn’t have started any worse for Clearwater as they gave up 2 goals in the first 10 minutes, one on an own goal and the other on a mishap in the box off a Manhattan corner kick. But the Cougars gathered themselves, determined to get back into the match, and finished the half with a barrage of offensive opportunities. Freshman Johnathan Moore scored first for the Cougars in the 13th minute with a sliding shot off a free kick delivery from Ben Holmes. Bryan Chidarikire would tie the score at 2-2 for the Cougars after Custer got behind the Crusader back line and slotted the ball to Chidarikire who calmly beat the Manhattan keeper. The Cougars kept the pressure on and scored again just minutes before half-time after Custer chipped the ball over the keeper to senior Matt Wells who headed the ball home to send the Cougars to half-time with a 3-2 lead.

The 2nd half would continue with both teams playing very direct and continuing to create opportunities to score. Custer would score a goal of his own in the 70th minute after beating several Manhattan defenders and clinically slotting the ball past the keeper to put the Cougars up 4-2. Manhattan would close the gap to 4-3 when Kris Morrison blasted a shot past keeper Anthony DeRosse with 4 minutes to go, but the Cougars held on for the win.

Coach Whitaker commented, “I was really proud of the character our guys showed tonight. We kept our composure despite a disastrous start. We showed a lot of resolve to come back and lead at the half. We’re excited to be moving on.”

For the match, Clearwater held a 16-6 advantage in shots on goal. With the win, the Cougars move on to face the #1 seed Moody Bible Institute on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.