SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 19, 2013) -- After falling into a 2-0 hole, John Brown (6-7-0, 2-3-0 SAC) received two second half tallies from sophomore Eli Simonsen and senior Luke Theimer before a last-minute No. 13 Wayland Baptist (Texas) goal thwarted the Golden Eagle comeback effort as JBU fell 3-2 this afternoon at Alumni Field.
The second half was closely contested as the visiting Pioneers edged John Brown in shots, 12-10, but it was the Golden Eagles who received strikes from Simonsen in the 57th minute and the equalizer from Theimer in the 86th minute. JBU couldn't prolong the game into extra time, however as WBU's Andres Lozano lofted a volley from outside the box past senior keeper Pablo Garcia and the John Brown defense.
"I guess there are never easy losses, but we have had too many like this during the season," admitted head coach Scott Marksberry after his team's third loss to a top-25 opponent this season. "We had our chances to bury the game, but we did not capitalize. We absolutely must be better in the final one minute of every half. We have given up goals in the final 10 seconds of a half three times this season. It is unacceptable.
"However, the boys played well today. Once we got past the first six minutes, we dictated much of the play. I am pleased with the way we kept to our style of play when we were down two goals. But we have to have enough confidence in our style to take a game like that into overtime."
The Pioneers found the scoreboard both early and late in the first half. Baptist took a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the match on a loft into the box that was put away from the left side. Wayland out-shot the hosts 9-4 in the first stanza despite the strong Golden Eagle response mid-way through the half.
As the final minute approached, WBU returned the pressure when a scramble in the box pushed the ball to the awaiting foot of Samson Defeugaing, who simply placed the ball through a screen in front with three seconds left in the half.
Not deterred with a two-goal deficit, John Brown regained ball control early in the half and began its usual style of strong passing. The Golden Eagles earned a free kick from 25 yards out on the left flank in the 57th minute, prompting Simonsen to take his usual attempt. Simonsen sent a strong strike over the Pioneer wall, curling the ball into the near lower corner of the net to cut the WBU lead in half.
Struggling to find the equalizer, the Golden Eagles caught a break when freshman Jordan Story's throw-in found a cutting Martin Gonzalez in the offensive third of the field. Gonzalez was able to draw a call, prompting another volley attempt from Simonsen. The sophomore volleyed a perfect attempt deep into the box towards three attacking Golden Eagles. Although the trio couldn't convert on the initial pass, junior forward Ryan Duncan kept the ball in play, deflecting the pass to Theimer who was able to reach back, knocking the loose ball past WBU keeper John-Ramses Thomas, knotting the score at two apiece.
Just before the game was set to advance to extra time, a final Pioneer push resulted in a long strike by Lozano that lofted into the right side of the goal with only seven seconds remaining in the match.
"We have to give credit to Wayland for putting away their chances. Scoring in the last few seconds of the half and the last few seconds of the game shows a lot of resolve," Marksberry added. "Hopefully we can learn from that going forward.
"We expect a big week for our team in Texas. And I think our team is going to be a handful in the post season."
Garcia (6-7-0) finished the match with a season-high eight saves while Thomas (11-2-1) pushed aside three saves in the winning effort for the Pioneers.
The Golden Eagles will resume play next week when John Brown travels to face Southwestern A.G. (Texas) on Thursday (Oct. 24) before taking on Texas Wesleyan on Saturday (Oct. 26).