Valiant Effort from Garcia, Golden Eagles Falls Short Against Pioneers
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 14, 2013) -- Senior goalkeeper Pablo Garcia managed to knock away five shots this afternoon, but the sixth shot found a way through as No. 9 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) escaped Alumni Field with a 1-0 win over John Brown.
The Pioneers (5-2-1), ranked in the top-10 of the NAIA's National Poll, entered the contest coming off a 1-0 loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan, a squad that handed the Golden Eagles a 5-2 defeat earlier this season.
MNU started the match by pressing the JBU defense, resulting in a Pioneer forward dinging a shot off the crossbar. John Brown would respond, however, recording the next four shots on goal over a 10:39 span that saw sophomore forward Cory Cole fire two attempts on goal in addition to another chance by sophomore defender Will Simonds, forcing MidAmerica Nazarene netminder Christopher Cole to make a trio of saves.
In the 27th minute, the Pioneers were awarded a penalty shot as Matias Fernandez lined up to take the ensuing kick. Garcia was up to the task and sprawled to his right to knock away what would be a 1-0 MNU advantage.
Over the next couple minutes, the Pioneers continued to attack in the offensive third, earning a corner kick and two shots, forcing Garcia to make another heroic save, for its efforts.
Junior forward Ryan Duncan had the best opportunity for the home team in the 32nd minute when the striker accepted the ball in the right corner of the box, but sent a screaming attempt off the bounce just over the crossbar as the Golden Eagles continued to find the first goal of the match.
As the half drew to a close, what began as an offensive assault by the visitors finally evened out over the course of the first period as the shots were even at six and both keepers continued their strong play, recording three saves apiece.
MidAmerica Nazarene continued its pressure through the first 10 minutes of the second half, seizing the majority of the ball control which landed the Pioneers four shots and four corner kicks. Garcia came up with a leaping, well-timed save to preserve the clean sheet and Simonds recorded a block to help out his netminder during the barrage.
After withstanding the MNU wave, John Brown returned the favor over a 5:59 span that saw shot attempts from Cole, freshman defender Daniel Marulanda and sophomore midfielder Eli Simonsen.
The 70th minute saw Garcia notch his fifth save of the match, again of the spectacular variety. On the counter-attack, the Golden Eagles encountered its best opportunity to score in the second half when sophomore attacker Zari Prescod found his counterpart, freshman forward Marco Cardona, streaking up the center. Cardona received the pass and one-timed a ball to the lower-left corner, forcing Ericksson to make a sliding effort, easily his best of the match, leaving John Brown still goalless.
The ensuing corner kick by Simonsen found the head of Cardona at the back post, but Cardona's head flick ended up just wide of the net.
In the 84th minute, the Pioneers finally found the back of the net when a restart resulted in an MNU counter-attack up the middle. A nice pass through the JBU defensive seams found a Pioneer who flicked the ball onto a running attacker, who fired a hard, low shot to the near post, beating the previously impenetrable Garcia performance.
The Golden Eagles were unable to provide the fans an equalizer as MidAmerica Nazarene escaped with a narrow 1-0 decision.
The Pioneers out-shot the hosts, 14-12, and sent more attempts on goal, 6-4. Garcia took the difficult loss in net, moving his record to 3-3-0. Ericksson (5-2-0) picked up his fifth victory in the complete-game shutout.
Cole finished with a team-high three shots while Simonsen notched two attempts and a quartet of Golden Eagles landed a lone shot.
John Brown (3-3-0) will continue in its non-conference portion of the 2013 slate, returning to the pitch on Tuesday (Sept. 17) when it hosts former conference rival Rogers State (Okla.) at Alumni Field in a 4:00 p.m. tilt.