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SHEBOYGAN - Ryan Johnson scored his second goal of the match with 3:15 left in the first overtime period and North Central (Ill.) College sent the Lakeland College men's soccer team to a tough 3-2 loss Sunday afternoon in a non-conference match.
Lakeland worked hard throughout and battled back from a 2-0 deficit against a Cardinals team ranked ninth in the NCAA Division III Central Region. The Muskies lost their third straight match though and dropped to 2-5-1 overall, while North Central improved to 7-2.
Johnson scored the winning goal by outrunning Lakeland goalkeeper Alex Piekarski (Sr.-Menasha, Wis.) to a loose ball outside the goalkeeper's box. He reached the ball and hit a soft shot on the ground just out of reach of the Muskies' retreating defense, with the ball nestling into the corner of the net just inside the left post.
The goal wiped out a terrific comeback by the Muskies in the second half from a two goal deficit. North Central led 2-0 at halftime and into the second half, controlling play much of the way. Lakeland hung around, though, and crept closer when Ramsey Riehl (Jr.-Appleton, Wis.) got a pass from Jacob Stuebs (Fr.-Campbellsport, Wis.) and scored his first career goal, striking a long shot from straight on and just under the crossbar in the 66th minute.
The Muskies continued to make a push and got the tying goal with 15:01 remaining in regulation. Justin Blauert (Jr.-De Pere, Wis.) hit a free kick from the right side into the goal area, and the ball bounced off several players before Farouk Dadzie (Jr.-Milwaukee, Wis.) cleaned it up and put it in the goal to tie the match.
The Cardinals shook off a quick start by Lakeland to score first in the match as Johnson was the recipient of some quick passing and tallied 11:20 into the game. North Central then took a 2-0 lead in the 32nd minute when Steven Mackey scored with assists from Jake Johnson and Ryan Johnson.
North Central outshot Lakeland 19-14 in the match, including a 13-9 edge in shots on goal. Piekarski made 10 saves for the Muskies and was spectacular in the second half and much of overtime, making several key saves to keep Lakeland alive. Three goalkeepers play for the Cardinals and Mike Gordon picked up the win, playing 56:04 in goal and making two saves.
The Muskies finished 0-2 on the weekend after also falling 3-0 on Saturday to Benedictine (Ill.) University in a Northern Athletics Conference match. The Eagles scored in the 10th minute and then tacked on two more goals in the final 13 minutes to get their first win over Lakeland in seven meetings since both schools became a part of the NAC.
Piekarski made three saves in goal. Paul Elzinga (So.-Howards Grove, Wis.) led the offense with three shots, but Benedictine outshot Lakeland 11-8.
Lakeland returns to NAC play Wednesday against Edgewood College, with the game being played under the lights at 7 p.m. in Madison.