TU Falls in Home Opener


UPLAND, Ind. – In the first match of the year, the Taylor Trojans lost 3-2 to Saint Francis (Ill.) at Turner Field Saturday night, falling for just the third time in the last eight contests at home.


The two squads have a history of meeting each other near the beginning of each season. The Fighting Saints (1-0-0) were able to push the series into a tie at 3-3-1 after tonight’s performance, which dates back to 2009.


TU touted a mix of youth and experience in the starting lineup, with four freshmen making their first-career start and four seniors.


Clay Vander Kolk came inches away from opening the scoring column during the sixth minute of regulation. The freshman got past two defenders 30 yards from the net and took a shot at the goal, but Saint Francis’ goalie was there to deflect the shot.


The Trojans (0-1-0) saw themselves down early in the opening stanza after a goal in the 17th minute by Saint Francis. The visitors got on the board after curving a shot past a diving Luke Williams.


After nine minutes of action, the Purple and Gold tallied their first goal of the season off a header from Charbel Salako, after a free kick by Owen Hardy near the sideline. Salako was able to rise above the defenders and score from 10 yards out to tie the match in the 27th minute. The duo nearly repeated themselves after Salako missed another header from a free kick from Hardy several minutes afterwards, but the ball sailed wide right.


The visitors scored a quick goal just before halftime, as they tapped in a rebound just out front of the net to make it 2-1.


In the 70th minute, the Fighting Saints increased the lead to 3-1, after a shot off the crossbar that bounced in.


Taylor made it interesting in the final minutes with a header from Josiah Wieland off a kick from Andrew Johnson to trim the lead to 3-2 in the 89th minute.


Williams had three saves in net for TU, as he garnered his 22nd start in a Taylor uniform.


As a team, the Trojans collected seven shots on goal, compared to Saint Francis’ five.


The Purple and Gold remain at home against Trinity Christian on Tuesday. The match is slated for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.