One Hellmann of a Night for Men’s Soccer

One Hellmann of a Night for Men’s Soccer

Clinton, Miss. – Lynn University's men's soccer team welcomed Mississippi College back to NCAA Division II play with a 3-1 season-opening victory on Friday evening.  Chris Hellmann scored all three goals, giving the Fighting Knights their first hat trick since September 3, 2012.  This marks the third consecutive season-opening win for Lynn while giving the men's soccer program a 26-2-1 overall record in their first match of the year.

A member of NCAA Division III since 1995, Mississippi College made the move back to the Gulf South Conference, and Division II, in 2014.  The Blue & White wasted little time showing the Choctaws what they have been missing by attempting two quick shots on goal within the opening 10 minutes of play.  On each occasion, MC sent a square pass across the middle only to see Hellmann swoop in, make the steal and rip a shot on net.

Lynn's aggressiveness paid off in the 26th minute of play.  Simon Gubisch played a quick free kick down the left sideline to a wide-open Hellmann.  The sophomore striker raced down the left wing unmarked and slipped his shot inside the right post past a diving Humberto Pelaez.

It was 11 minutes later the Choctaws got into trouble again with a square ball across the defensive back four.  Hellmann was able to steal the pass and start a breakaway only to be taken down from behind inside the box to earn a penalty kick.  On the whistle from the official, Hellmann struck a low shot past Pelaez.

The Choctaws had some close plays themselves in the opening half.  Keeper Max Schmidt, the first freshman since 2002 to start in net for Lynn, made a rookie mistake 15 minutes into play when he accidently held the ball past the 18-yard box, giving Mississippi a free kick.  He later redeemed himself near the close of the half after Ewahia Amhanesi split the Blue & White defense.  Schmidt raced off his line and made a sliding stop to keep the 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.

A defensive breakdown by Lynn in the 53rd minute allowed Amhanesi to cut the Choctaws deficit in half.  The Mississippi forward took a pass from Brian Vasquez inside the six-yard box and lobbed a shot over Schmidt to make it 2-1.

But Hellmann had other ideas.  Kerst Lehmann made a run down the left sideline and sent a cross over Pelaez's hands, giving Hellmann an open net for his third score.  The hat trick was the first since Julian Halder notched three against King College during Lynn's 2012 national championship season.

The Fighting Knights are back in action on Sunday, September 7, at 3 p.m. ET, when they travel to Cleveland, Miss., to battle Delta State.  Fans can listen to the action live at LynnFightingKnights.com and receive in-game updates by following @Lynn_Knights on Twitter and Instagram.