CHIACKASHA, Okla. (November 11, 2014) -- For the first time this season, the Golden Eagles (9-7-2) suffered a defeat greater than one goal. Unfortunately, it came in the semifinals of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament as the second-seeded and No. 25 Science & Arts (Okla.) rolled to a 4-0 score over sixth-seeded John Brown this afternoon at Drover Pitch.
The loss marks the second-straight season JBU has bowed out of the tournament in Chickasha.
“Well, that was a tough way to go out,” admitted second-year head coach Scott Marksberry. “It looked like we were heading into halftime 0-0 before USAO capitalized on an error in our box. The penalty kick for a handball was a dagger 30 seconds later. Climbing out of a 2-0 hole at USAO is a big challenge and doing it without Martin [Gonzalez] was going to be an even bigger challenge. We were unfortunate to lose Martin to an injury against Wayland just after our attack was beginning to find a great rhythm; we missed him today. USAO was the better team today and is capable of making a strong postseason run.”
Without the services of Gonzalez and his 4.18 shots per game, the Drovers (16-3-0) managed to run up a 21-8 shot count and built an 18-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Freshman keeper Adam Holt kept the Golden Eagles in contention through the first 40 minutes, but Drover midfielder Liam Madden scored off a JBU defensive miscue in the 42nd minute. Felix Gercke picked up the helper to put the Drovers on top, 1-0. Just 16 seconds later, JBU was whistled for a hand ball in the box and Madden scored again to double the deficit, 2-0, heading into the break.
In the final 45 minutes of action, USAO managed one more goal as SAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year Stephen Owusu found Alex Rubio, who headed the ball past Holt in the 56th minute. The final goal came as a result of the Golden Eagles attempting to clear a ball out of harm’s way, but ended in its own net in the 81st minute.
Holt ended the game with a trio of saves while USAO keeper Bryan Byers earned two saves and picked up his 44th career shutout, which ties him for the all-time NAIA career record.
Freshman midfielder Collin Smith, freshman striker Daniel Isiagi and sophomore forward Marco Cardona each sent two shot attempts towards Byers to pace the Golden Eagle offense. Owusu easily had a match-high seven shots, but wasn’t able to land a single one on target.
“I was proud of the way our boys played this season,” Marksberry added. “With the exception of today's game, we never lost by more than a single goal. We competed with some very good teams and we improved a lot over the course of the year. We are going to lose some great seniors. These guys have been a huge part of creating the culture that sets our team apart from other teams out there. They will really be missed. On the other end of it, we started four freshmen in this match, and five freshmen started a number of games for us this year. We also had a great contribution from our sophomore and junior classes. These younger guys are beginning to sense what it will take to break through to the national tournament. I think the future is bright for JBU Soccer.”
With the loss, six players competed in their last collegiate outing, including Ryan Duncan, Martin Gonzalez, Dakota Dresbach, Darwin Silva, Eli Simonsen and Jose Nino.