Williams' Laserbeam Sends Men’s Soccer into Semifinals

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 6, 2015) -- In what could oddly be described as a chess match for the majority of the contest, freshman Ryan Williams ended a 0-0 deadlock with 40 seconds left in the first overtime as the John Brown men’s soccer team (13-5-1) rolled into the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament semifinals on Friday (Nov. 6) night at Alumni Field.

Freshman Connor Georgopulos (3-0-0) secured his first collegiate shutout, needing just one save in the 99-minute match.

The Pioneer (7-8-2) defense held John Brown to just two shots in the first half, frustrating the home crowd of 320 fans as the second half continued into a midfield struggle without many scoring chances. Each shot towards the net became increasingly valuable by the minute.

The 52nd minute almost featured a goal when junior Marco Cardona was one-on-one with WBU keeper Palemon Plancarte. At a disadvantageous angle however, Cardona’s shot whistled through the six-yard box and just wide of the far left post.

The Golden Eagle offense picked up in the second half, out-shooting the visitors 9-4. However, neither team could solve Georgopulos or Plancarte as the teams moved to sudden-death overtime.

JBU seemed to control the majority of the 10-minute extra period, and held a 3-1 shooting advantage. With 40 seconds remaining until the final 10-minute overtime, Williams ended the home team’s frustrations with one kick.

The game-winner began as a restart when sophomore Douglas Oliveira booted a long pass downfield that was headed down by a Pioneer, but collected by freshman Conner Haney in the midfield. Up the left flank, Haney played a ball into Williams, who spun around a defender and caught the entire Wayland Baptist back line and keeper off guard, launching a 40-yard rocket. The ball dipped just under the crossbar and sent the Golden Eagle bench onto the field.

The strike was Williams’ first-career game-winner. Haney’s assist was his team-leading sixth of the season.

“Wayland was the most disruptive opponent we’ve seen all year,” admitted head coach Scott Marksberry. “We couldn’t do what we wanted to do today because of the way they were defending out there. I told the boys we were going to need a little bit of magic tonight, and Ryan provided that tonight.”

Williams led all players with three shots while Cardona added two. Emmanuel Emmas and Travis Somersall each recorded two in the loss for Wayland Baptist, which has its season end in the SAC quarterfinals to John Brown for the second consecutive year.

The Golden Eagles will now look towards Southwestern Christian (Okla.) on Monday (Nov. 9). JBU previously defeated the third-seeded Eagles 4-1 at Alumni Field and will look to duplicate that effort in the semifinals and earn its first berth to the SAC title game since 2012. No start time has been announced.

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