DOMINIC HOSCHER | Reporter
In their final home game of the season, the Lindenwood Lions hosted the No. 10 Fort Hays State Tigers in search of redemption after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Tigers earlier in the season.
Fort Hays State proved their ranking, however, besting the Lions by a final score of 3-1.
“It’s not about them being a top 10 team in the nation, it’s just our next team,” head coach Carl Hutter said. “We know they’re a good team, we have a good rivalry with them and we played them before, and played them really well last time. Today, we made mistakes that cost us and didn’t play very well.”
The ref was quick to his whistle in the early going. Seven minutes into the game, Mandlenkosi Seremani was given a yellow card for a harsh challenge on a Tiger attacker. Just under 10 minutes later, Gaspar Alvarez was booked as well after going in hard on a 50/50 ball. The Lions were strong in possession, but the Tigers had the better of the chances.
These chances would lead to the opening goal of the contest, in favor of the visitors. Agudelo took three defenders with him, opening up a lane for Rogelio Lopez. Lopez took advantage of the opportunity, and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal of the season. This would be the score at the end of the first 45 minutes, and Lindenwood was struggling to get going up front.
“Their center backs, as soon as I’d beat one of them, locked me down,” Joshua Scholl said. “They made me either get rid of the ball or he’d tackle and I’d lose the ball. Defensively, they’re very good, they cover their teammates’ backs.”
Into the second half, Fort Hays State remained in control. After a precise pass into the box by Arsenio Chamorro, Agudelo got free at the far post and nearly sent his one-timed effort past the goalkeeper, but Lindenwood’s Aleksa Nenadic made the critical save for Lindenwood. About a minute later, Agudelo had his chance again and got loose from his defenders on the break and this time was able to score. The goal was his 25th of the season.
Lindenwood got back into the game around the 71 minute mark with a goal by Johannes Brendle. But the momentum didn’t last long due to the talented Agudelo. Already with a goal and an assist, Agudelo got his second of the day on a one-on-one opportunity against Nenadic and slotted it home to make it 3-1, which ended up being the final score.
“If we know that a team has a player that is special like [Agudelo] is, then we’ll have a gameplan for him,” head coach Carl Hutter said. “The kid still scored two goals, we just had breakdowns. With the mistakes we made, a player like that will make you pay.”
Agudelo’s brace carried the Tigers to their 11th win in a row, their 14th of the season. Lindenwood falls to 8-5-3 on the year, dropping their final home game of the year. They’ll now travel out on the road for crucial late-season clashes with Southwest Baptist University on Friday, and Northeastern State on Sunday.
“We’re going to focus on maintaining a positive attitude,” Scholl said. “With these last two games, we have to ensure two wins to even be considered for the tournament. For me, I just take it one game at a time.”