University of Jamestown men's soccer coach Tommy Nienhaus was proud of the effort turned in by the Jimmies hosting Northwestern College on Wednesday night.
Playing down a man -- and a goal -- over the entire second half, the Jimmies pressured the Red Raiders throughout the final 45 minutes but came up empty on the scoreboard. The Raiders took a 2-1 decision over the Jimmies, who can clinch the No. 7 seed for next week's Great Plains Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament with a victory hosting Doane this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Jimmies lost senior goalkeeper Jake Askew to a red card in 36th minute of 1-1 match Wednesday, following a collision with a Red Raider outside the box. Northwestern senior forward Anselmo Kim then got his seventh goal of the season past UJ backup keeper Alex Hamer with 53 seconds remaining before the half, sealing the victory for Northwestern.
"Even down a man I thought we outplayed them," Nienhaus said. "Things are delicate when a keeper has to come in in a spot moment, so that happens. It's unfortunate, but we kept pushing, we kept pressing."
The Jimmies struck first in the 12th minute behind sophomore Aaron Pike's team-leading 10th goal of 2019. But Northwestern back Chris Ten Pas leveled the scoreboard in the 16th.
The Red Raiders, playing with all 11 men, outpaced the Jimmies 12-9 on shots, including 7-3 on target, but Hamer was able to make five saves. The sophomore from Birmingham, England, has totaled 22 saves in seven appearances on the pitch this fall for UJ.
"I liked, even though we're down a man, the aggressiveness and the nature of things," Nienhaus said. "We were the better team tonight, hands down."
Pike, however, was helped off the pitch in the 90th minute after contact with a Northwestern player as UJ was making one final push at tying the score. Injuries have played a part in Jamestown's (6-8-2, 3-5-2 GPAC) struggles this season.
The Jimmies are 0-2-2 in their last four conference matches, which includes draws at Dordt and Concordia University last week. Jamestown, however, is locked into the conference tournament as either the No. 7 seed or the final No. 8 seed. The GPAC tournament begins at host sites on Nov. 7.
"Right now the job is to get healthy. We're still banged up," Nienhaus said. "We were shorthanded tonight, so that's really the priority. Get points on Saturday, get that seed and go find out who our matchup is."
Doane (3-12-1, 2-6-1) is the only team that can pass Jamestown for seventh. Following Saturday's match in Jamestown, Doane plays at Presentation (1-13, 0-10) on Sunday, and a win over the Jimmies, plus a win or tie over the Saints, would shuffle Jamestown to No. 8.
Jamestown will be on the road at either No. 1 or No. 2 to open GPAC tournament play. Morningside and Briar Cliff currently lead the conference at 9-1.
This Saturday's match vs. the Tigers is Senior Day for the Jimmies. UJ's six seniors include former Jamestown Blue Jay Chris Hare.
"We're going to be there at the end," Nienhaus said. "We're going to be a very dangerous and surprising team come conference tournament time."
Northwestern College 2, University of Jamestown 1