CANTON, Mo. -- Trailing by a goal at halftime Tuesday night, Culver-Stockton College men's soccer coach Blake Ordell made a slight change to the Wildcats' formation.
It proved to be the right move.
The seventh-seeded Wildcats scored twice in a three-minute span early in the second half and rode the momentum to a 4-2 victory over 10th-seeded Graceland in the opening round of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament at NX Level Field.
"All the credit goes to the guys," Ordell said. "They bought into it and made it work."
C-SC (9-7-3) advances to play second-seeded Baker at 7 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals in Baldwin City, Kan.
"We really have to defend well," Ordell said. "We have to defend set pieces and not foul around the box. They have some big attackers, some All-Americans, and you don't want to give them any extra opportunities. We have to be calm on the ball."
The Wildcats were calm despite trailing 2-1 at halftime Tuesday night.
"They were making it really hard on our midfield," Ordell said. "That's where our power comes from. It was hard for us to break them down."
It didn't take long for Wildcats to figure out how to break the Yellowjackets down in the second half. Six minutes in, a corner kick was played back to Greg McCrudden, who crossed a ball that Reece Miller headed it in to tie the game at 2.
Senior midfielder Mackenzie Northern took a cross from Miller three minutes later and buried his game-winning shot for a 3-2 lead.
"We also hit the crossbar in that span," Ordell said. "We just kept knocking."
Tre Maxwell scored his first collegiate goal in the 78th minute to give the Wildcats a two-goal cushion. C-SC goalkeeper Nicholas Luciani made eight saves, while Northern scored in the first half on a penalty kick.
"I'm extremely proud of our guys for sticking with it and battling," Ordell said.
Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament
Culver-Stockton 4, Graceland 2
14 Shots 19
7 Saves 8
6 Corners 4
14 Fouls 23
2 Offsides 2
Graceland 2 0--2
C-SC 1 3--4
G--Joachim Kikuni (Robert Turk), 9:07
C--Mackenzie Northern (penalty kick), 31:36
G--Tyler Wood (Abraham de Anda), 34:59
C--Reece Miller (Greg McCrudden), 50:30
C--Northern (Miller), 53:38
C--Tre Maxwell (William Mansfield), 77:50