Kansas Wesleyan head coach LeBaron Hollimon didn’t know what to say or feel after his team’s 2-1 win over the Bethel Threshers on Saturday night at JRI Stadium.
“It’s such a relief. It’s so hard to be excited right now because the feeling of relief is so overwhelming,” Hollimon said after the win, which snapped KWU’s nine-match losing streak.
The win also gave the Coyotes their first Kansas Conference win of the season.
“It was very much a team effort tonight,” Hollimon said. “Especially when we were down a man, we had to dig deep and grind.
“We were able to find the energy to dig deep and get it done. It was a good team win for us.”
The Coyotes took an early lead on a goal by Brandon Oaks (SO/Salina, Kan.) in the fourth minute. Oaks broke into the box and shot it in to put the Coyotes up 1-0.
The 1-0 score would hold to the half.
Bethel got the equalizer in the 51st minute when Adalsteinn Kristinsson scored on a corner kick set piece.
The Coyotes took the lead in the 63rd minute when Alfonso Lopez (SR/Fontana, Calif.) converted a penalty kick after a foul inside the penalty area.
Wesleyan had to buckle down the rest of the way playing a man down after a red card was issued on a second caution.
Graedon Hilton made his first start in goal for the Coyotes and played lights out, especially down the stretch, but Hollimon points to a huge stop for the freshman in the first half that kept Bethel off the board and instilled some confidence for Hilton.
“There was a shot in the first half that looked like it was going in and he comes flying out of nowhere and makes the stop for us,” he said. “Graedon commanded his box well tonight.”
Bethel outshot the Coyotes 14-11 in the match. David Bellin (SR/Berlin, Germany) and Lopez led the way with three each. Hilton had five saves in goal for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes are back in action on Wednesday at Friends, before hosting Southwestern next Saturday for Homecoming and Family Weekend at 1:30 p.m. at JRI Stadium.