By Myla Stewart
MACOMB, IL- Western Illinois’ battle against the Lindenwood Lions was a thriller until the very last minute. On Oct. 15 the Leathernecks were able to achieve their first win of the season as well as their first win of Summit League play.
Lindenwood opened the scoring early with a follow up off of a high served corner kick in the eighth minute of the first half. With a quick response, the Neck’s were back on the board thanks to Jack Immosete. Muazu Sagir gained his fourth assist of the season with a perfectly placed through ball at Immosete’s feet giving him the 1v1 opportunity with the Lion’s keeper.
Not long after the game-tying goal, the Lions were knocking on the door for another. With a foul in the box Lindenwood was awarded a penalty kick, but junior goalkeeper Alex Flowers would not allow the Lions to take the lead. With a shot to the right side of the net, Flowers met the ball in the air and parried it to the baseline for a Lions corner kick. With this game changing save the Neck’s had a huge shift in momentum and energy. Outshooting the Lions directly after the big play, they were able to bury another one past the Lindenwood keeper. Jaylen Drummond was able to scavenge the ball out of multiple poor clearances and send it to Kyle Owen in the box. Owens was able to capitalize and finish a low first-time shot into the left corner of the goal. Going into halftime with a 2-1 lead, the mindset had to stay on track as there was still 45 minutes of soccer left to play.
The Lions gained the equalizer in the 74th minute with a shot from just outside of the box into the left side of the net. With nearly 15 minutes left to play, the Necks had plenty of time to fight back. They say it’s always better late than never and the Leathernecks surely took advantage of that. With three minutes left to play, Damian Rincon scored the game-winning goal. With a build-up from half field, Rincon found the ball in the pocket just outside the 18-yard box and picked his head up for a shot. With a deflection off of a Lindenwood defender, the ball went up and over the goalkeeper and in the back of the net for the Leathernecks. Final score was 3-2 making this the first win for Western Illinois of the 2022 fall season. With this win, WIU made the jump from eighth to fifth place in Summit League standings, and they now look at a real shot to make a statement in conference play.
Looking at the next game for the Necks, they take on the Detroit Titans at home on Oct. 18. This will be the final non-conference match for Western. Detroit is 4-5-4 on the season with four games remaining. This contest will not affect either team’s conference standings. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 P.M. Oct. 18 on John Mackenzie Alumni Field.