By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
It was hard for Hannibal La-Grange men's soccer coach David Erksine to be too upset after the Trojans lost 3-2 Wednesday to Belhaven University in an NAIA quarterfinal in Montgomery, Ala.
The Trojans (16-5) already advanced farther than any other team in school history and lost their dynamic midfielder Joao Junquiera five minutes in.
"I told the guys after a game like that, it hurts, but they can't hang their heads," HLGU coach David Erksine said. "We did extremely well and battled through adversity. We came back from two bad 4-0 losses to run off 11 straight wins and that says a lot in itself."
The Blazers (17-4-1) scored two second-half goals to rally past the Trojans. After HLGU's Agustin Concha scored in the 53rd minute to put the Trojans ahead 2-1, Belhaven tied the game three minutes later on a goal by Victor Lawrence.
Erksine didn't feel his team relaxed.
"They scored so soon after we went up," Erksine said. "There was never that ‘We had the lead and let's start locking things down' mentality. You don't get to enjoy the lead when the lead changed hands so soon. I really thought at that time that we had control of the game."
Victor France scored the game-winning goal in the 87th minute off of a restart from about 22 yards out. HLGU's Manual Saez had a shot stopped with 28 seconds remaining and Mikel Erdozain missed wide after a corner with two seconds left.
Belhaven took a 1-0 lead when Victor Lawrence scored in the 18th minute. Erdozain evened the game 64 seconds later.
HLGU took a 2-1 lead when Agustin Concha scored in the 53rd minute. Lawrence scored his second goal in the 56th minute to tie the game.
The Trojans outshot the Blazers 15-12.