Case Western Reserve University put up a pair of goals against one of the top defenses in Division III this season on Sunday afternoon at DiSanto Field, but a late 'own goal' ultimately cost the Spartans in a 3-2 loss to 10th-ranked North Park in Cleveland, Ohio.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 5-8-2 overall with three games remaining on their regular season schedule, while North Park won its third-straight game and stretched its unbeaten streak to 13-consecutive games, improving to 13-1-1 overall.
The Spartans went on the attack early, led by senior forward Michael Balog. Balog launched four shots during the first period alone, including one in the opening minutes on a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper that went off the post. Senior goalkeeper Calvin Boyle recorded five first half saves, including two on set pieces off North Park free kicks, and one on a point-blank shot on a breakaway by Carel Kuzona.
The Spartans broke the scoreless tie in the waning seconds of the first half on a free kick opportunity. Sophomore Zachary Senft took the free kick chance, sending it into the six yard box and to the far side of the net. It was headed down by junior Christian Lytle, and knocked in by junior Paul Darmstadter with just seven seconds remaining in the first stanza, giving CWRU a 1-0 lead heading into the break. It was Darmstadter's first goal of the season, while Senft earned his third assist of the year on the play, and Lytle his first.
However, North Park responded with a pair of quick goals early in the second half to take their first lead of the game. Chase Lennartz notched his first tally of the season, collecting a corner kick from Peder Nalum Olsen and sending a shot into the back of the net in the 49th minute. In the 51st minute, Olsen was able to give the Vikings the lead with a goal off a free kick, his ninth of the campaign.
The score remained 2-1 in North Park's favor until the 64th minute of play, when junior Alex Besl found freshman Seldon Magruder inside the six yard box. Magruder was able to finish with a high shot past the North Park keeper for his team-leading sixth goal of the season, with Besl recording his Spartan-best fifth assist of the year. Magruder has scored in back-to-back games against ranked opponents, and has tallied four goals the team's last four games.
The score remained tied until the 85th minute of play, when a defensive miscue cost the Spartans an 'own goal.' It would prove to be the deciding score in the match.
Boyle faced 21 total shots in the game, including 11 on goal, making eight saves in the contest. Balog led all players on Sunday with five shots and two shots on goal, as the Spartans finished the game with 14 total shots and five shots on goal as a team.
The two goals by the Spartans came against a North Park defense that had shutout six of its last seven opponents, and entered the weekend ranked 28th in Division III with a 0.63 team goals against average.
Sunday's game wrapped-up the Spartans non-conference schedule for the 2017 campaign. Case Western Reserve will continue its season-ending four-game home stand with a pair of University Athletic Association contests at DiSanto Field next weekend. The Spartans will begin the weekend against the University of Rochester at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 27th.