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The slippery slope of moral victories doesn’t have much of a place in Ian McMichael’s program.
But following a 1-0 loss to a Limestone College side picked to win the 2017 Conference Carolinas men’s soccer regular-season title, the first-year Barton College head coach allowed for a little context on the grounds of Barton Outdoor Athletic Complex.
“We don’t want to be a team or a program that’s satisfied with moral victories,” McMichael said. “But with that being said, our boys gave tremendous effort. We created multiple counterattacking opportunities in the second half that definitely could have equalized for us. We’ve got to improve some mistakes, but this is another performance we can build on and keep fighting. We’re confident the results will start to come our way.”
Barton, which lost for the fourth straight match following a 1-0 win over nationally ranked Tusculum College in its opener, dropped its second Conference Carolinas tilt without a win. Limestone climbed to 3-1-1 overall, 2-0 within league play. The Saints put away the only goal of the match off Conor Young’s assist from the left wing. It was played to midfielder Luca Thuyl, who booted it by senior Barton keeper Jens Madsen Hordvik inside the box.
The Bulldogs, held without a shot in the first half, took two in the second 45 minutes as the urgency increased. Both shots came off the foot of junior midfielder Tolly Beatson.
In pushing numbers forward late, Barton ended matters with Hordvik abandoning his line and joining the Bulldogs attack deep in the Limestone defensive third. However, full time was whistled as Barton frantically attempted to get off a corner kick.
Barton held Limestone to one goal for the first time in six seasons. Thomas Osborne and Mirko Ronchi played one half each in goal for Limestone, with Ronchi collecting one save. The other shot from Beatson was turned aside by a Limestone defender.
Hordvik had eight stops for the Bulldogs, six coming in the second half.
“We still have another level in us,” McMichael said. “We’re playing hard and defended much better today. However, there’s so many areas we can improve. So we see a whole other level in this group and we’re excited to continue to get after it and achieve that level.”
Barton takes on a non-NCAA opponent Wednesday night when it welcomes National Christian College Athletic Association member John Wesley University for a 7 p.m. kickoff.