EUREKA – Halloween evening was more like a winter wonderland for the Eureka men's soccer team on Thursday, as the Red Devils battled Spalding in the snow on senior night.
Eureka kept it compelling in the first half, but the Golden Eagles pulled away for a 5-1 victory.
Spalding got on the scoresheet first, striking in the 22nd minute when goals leader Cornell Hilliard ran onto a through ball from Omar Mukoma and found the back of the net after the ball took a deflection off goalkeeper Moises Aldana (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall).
The Red Devils were quick to respond, providing the equalizer in the 31st minute. Senior attacker Michael Hansen (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) planted a cross from the right side onto the head of Sam Lin (Seattle, Wash/Chicago Hope Academy), who put it past the keeper. It was the second match in a row that Lin scored off a header.
It was nip and tuck all the way down to the end of the first half until Hilliard found Cole Vance, who chipped it over the keeper with two minutes left on the clock.
In the second half, the Spalding attack proved to be a little too much for the Red Devils to handle on the snow-covered turf. The Golden Eagles went ahead 3-1 in the 59th minute as a cross from Mirza Ugarak found Hilliard for his second goal of the evening.
Not even a minute later, Ugarak delivered an assist to Mani Bakari, who simply tapped it in to make it 4-1.
Then, in the 75th minute, Hilliard completed his hat trick, tallying the Golden Eagles' final goal of the match.
Aldana played in integral role in making sure the score didn't get out of hand for the Red Devils, as he recorded a game high 15 saves.
Eureka (2-11-1, 0-8 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) will close out the regular season in St. Louis on Saturday in a SLIAC match against Fontbonne. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.