COLUMBIA – John Hutchison played furiously in his debut with the Columbia College men's soccer team in the Cougars' 1-0 victory over visiting John Brown (Ark.) University on Saturday evening in their season opener.
The junior college transfer not only scored the game’s only goal in the 68th minute, he also accumulated a yellow card and caused problems for the Golen Eagles by creating scoring chances for the Cougars all night. He also was involved in many of the more emotional and physical moments of the match.
“He found some gaps early on,” Columbia College coach John Klein said, “just didn’t release the shot quick enough, and I think that was different about his goal than about a couple of the earlier opportunities.”
Freshmen Jovan Ilic also started with Hutchison for Columbia College.
“Jovan’s pretty steady back there,” Klein said. “He’s a good player and good on the ball.”
During his first outing, Ilic injured his fingers on his left hand and had them wrapped before returning in the second half.
“It hurts, but we won,” he said. “That’s what matters.
Klein said they don’t believe Illic’s fingers are broken.
The Cougars controlled the tempo in the early going and generated some good chances to score, but couldn’t net a goal and the game was deadlocked at the end of the first half.
As the second half wore on, the intensity increased and the game became more physical and emotional. Both sides looked for a goal and started fouling each other more than in the smooth first half.
In one scrum, Hutchison nearly got his second yellow card when he became tangled with John Brown’s goalkeeper Pablo Garcia competing for a loose ball and afterward some shoving occurred between players.
“I’m just sort of a fiery player. I play by aggression,” Hutchison said. “That last one, he sort of got me in a headlock I didn’t like it. I let him know.”
Right afterwards, Klein substituted Hutchison in fear of him getting a second yellow card and subsequent ejection from the game.
“I thought there was a little bit of a headlock,” Klein said. “My concern there was John already had a yellow card.”
Klein said he attempted to let the referee know Hutchison did not deserve another yellow card.
Hutchison said he was happy about his performance.
“I’m just thankful for coach’s faith in me,” he said. “I obviously hope to keep delivering.”