by Doug Page
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Barton College men's soccer team looked to build on its win last week against nationally-ranked No. 23 Tusculum College by paying a visit to Francis Marion University on Wednesday evening. Despite tying the score 1-1 early in the second half, the Bulldogs would see the Patriots score the eventual game-winning goal in the 81st minute of action to edge Barton, 2-1.
Freshman Cooper Dean was responsible for the Barton goal on the night, finishing off a header from six yards out to beat the Francis Marion goalkeeper. Junior Tolly Beatson took the corner kick for the Bulldogs and would find Dean inside the box at the 57:02 mark to knot the score 1-1.
"You have to give Francis Marion credit, they're a strong team, and they created plenty of chances throughout the match," Barton head coach Ian McMichael said. "We didn't start the game with the proper mentality that is needed to get a result on the road against a quality opponent. We responded in the second half and earned an equalizer, but needed a little more to find the second goal."
Francis Marion kept the Barton defense and senior keeper Jens Madsen Hordvik busy in the opening 45 minutes of action. The first big test for Hordvik came just seven minutes into the match as senior defender Seth Russ was called for a penalty, resulting in a penalty kick for the Patriots. Hordvik stood tall to defend his net, lunging to his left and deflecting the shot away into the corner.
After applying some pressure offensively and looking to shift the momentum midway through the first half, Barton would fall behind 1-0 in the 21st minute. Francis Marion's Levin Sandmann placed a header in the box past Hordvik to give his team the advantage on the scoreboard.
The second half quickly tilted towards the Bulldogs, who found themselves in position to even the score after earning back-to-back corner kicks. After taking four corners, the fifth would be the charm for Tolly and Barton as he found Dean at the top of the box.
Barton would have a couple of good scoring opportunities in the 78th and 80th minutes as freshman Pol Monells had his first shot from inside the box turned away by FMU keeper Raul Bejar and his second blocked by a Patriot defender.
Sandmann converted his second goal on the night in the 81st minute for the Patriots to make it 2-1. Guarded by a pair of Barton defenders, Sandmann took a pass off of a long run and was able to sneak a shot from 10 yards out to beat Hordvik.
Hordvik (1-1) finished the match with six saves for Barton, turning away three in each period. Raul Guillamon Bejar (1-0) was forced to make four saves for FMU. The Patriots outshot Barton 19-12 and were able to put eight on frame while the Bulldogs put five on frame. The Bulldogs held an 7-2 advantage in corner kicks, taking four in the second half. The Patriots were whistled 13 times in the match.
"We'll learn from this," McMichael said. "We'll prepare for another tough challenge on the road for our first conference match on Saturday."
Barton will face Lees-McRae in Banner Elk, N.C., on Saturday at 4 p.m.