Men’s Soccer Topples Juniata in Landmark Conference Opener

By Charlotte Wells | Sports Co-Editor

3 mins read
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Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The Rangers beat out the Juniata Eagles 1-0 in a suspenseful matchup this past Sunday, Sept. 24. 

The game marked the first Landmark Conference competition of the season for both teams after taking on several out-of-conference schools at the outset of the fall season. 

Drew’s shining moment came late in the first half, when Nate Keller (‘27) scored the only goal of the game with an assist from Kevin Kiernan (‘25). The shot landed Keller his first collegiate goal, with the match against Juniata being only his second appearance on the field since coming to Drew. 

Keller was named Ranger of the Week on Monday for his success on the field. 

Image of Nate Keller courtesy of drewrangers.com

Despite no other goals being scored, the remainder of the game proved to be just as nail-biting as the first half. The second period ushered in four attempts to score on behalf of the Rangers, all of which were ultimately blocked by Juniata’s goalkeeper. 

The Rangers put up a relentless offense over the course of both halves, making a total of 11 shots on goal, but Eagles goalkeeper Axel Grater (‘24) proved himself a force to be reckoned with as he made 10 saves to keep the game in a close battle. 

Juniata’s offense could not keep up with the Rangers’ intensity, as they took only two shots on goal throughout the entire game. Rangers goalkeeper Jacob Avni (‘27) turned aside both in the first half to keep Drew safely in the running until Keller was able to score his first goal. 

It was a bitter fight for both teams through the poor weather and close game, with a number of fouls called on both sides.

Sunday’s game, postponed from its original Saturday schedule due to inclement weather, saw the Rangers playing through chill winds and incessant rain as they fought to keep their lead over the Eagles.  

Drew’s last triumph over Juniata was back in 2019. During the past two seasons, their games ended in hair-raising ties between the two conference rivals, making this a long-awaited victory for the Rangers. 

The Rangers next take the field on Saturday, Sept. 30, when they face off against Landmark Conference rival Elizabethtown College at home.

Charlotte Wells is a senior double majoring in English and French and minoring in humanities.

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