QUINCY -- Quincy University men's soccer coach Mike Carpenter struggled with which players he wanted on the field at the start of the second half Sunday.
"I was on the fence," Carpenter said.
He ultimately decided to have freshmen Craig Chisholm and Macker Little run with junior Tony Christante, and it made him seem prophetic.
Two minutes into the second half, Chisholm fed Christante for a goal that doubled the Hawks' lead, and Little scored eight minutes later as their unrelenting pressure resulted in a 6-2 victory over Northern Michigan in the home opener at Legends Stadium.
"Maybe it was luck, but I got it right because (Chisholm and Christante) went and combined really well and scored that goal," Carpenter said.
It couldn't have been drawn up much better.
QU senior midfielder Cooper Reis drove a ball deep for Chisholm to run at to the left of the goal. He drew the attention of Wildcats goalkeeper Patrick Restum and volleyed the ball back into the box where Christante was crashing the penalty area from the middle of the field. Christante drilled his shot into an open net.
"I knew (Chisholm) really didn't have a good angle," Christante said. "I was hoping we would be on the same page and he would tap it back across. Sure enough it came and I was ready for the finish."
The 2-0 lead felt monstrous.
"It changed the game," Carpenter said. "It changed the game in that one second."
It changed everything because the Hawks stayed with the attack.
"We wanted to continue to push the pace," Christante said. "We needed to keep the foot on the pedal."
It's why four goals followed.
Little scored his first career goal in the 54th minute for a 3-0 lead, while Alsadig Hasan, Ty Rogers and Reis each scored in an 11-minute span to put the game away. Two of those goals came within three minutes of allowing a goal.
"I'm not crazy about conceding two goals," Carpenter said. "But to be fair, we did respond when we conceded. That's a positive. If you are going to concede, how do you kick back? We responded well in that manner."
It helps not to get complacent.
"If you continue to sit in and invite the pressure, sooner or later they're going to get chances and chances and put some away," Reis said. "You want to keep taking it at them."
Hasan scored twice, heading in the first goal in the 20th minute off a Reis corner kick, as redshirt freshmen accounted for three goals and an assist and further reminded Carpenter of that depth he has to use moving forward.
"I like it," Carpenter said. "I like the group not being settled and safe in their spot and for there to be a daily reminder, ‘Hey, if I don't work hard, I'm going to lose minutes potentially.'"