Men’s soccer strikes quickly, on doorstep of first title

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- Junior Collin Smith and sophomore Kelvin Omondinetted goals just 1:52 apart and No. 18 John Brown University rebounded from a tough loss at Wayland Baptist (Texas) to notch a 2-0 win over Texas Wesleyan on Thursday (Oct. 27) evening at Alumni Field, inching one step closer to its first-ever regular season title.

The Sooner Athletic regular season championship will come down the final day between Wayland Baptist and the Golden Eagles (11-2-2, 6-1-1 SAC). On Saturday, JBU will welcome Southwestern A.G. (Texas) to Alumni Field at 3 p.m. while a short time after that, Wayland Baptist will take on Oklahoma City at Stars Field. Both JBU and Baptist have matching records, but the Pioneers own the head-to-head tiebreaker. If Wayland loses and the Golden Eagles take care of its task in the visiting Lions, John Brown will clinch its first-ever regular season crown. However, if JBU and WBU both win or lose, the Pioneers will own the league's top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Midway through the first half, John Brown posted all the scoring it would need as the hosts dominated the visiting Rams in a shooting margin to the tune of 25-7.

Junior Adam Holt made four saves in his ninth clean sheet of the season, but also had some timely help from the goal frame. Moments after the second-half kick-off, TWU's Anthony Atilola launched a 65-yard bomb, catching the Golden Eagles off guard. Holt quickly made his way back to the line and leapt, only to see the attempt to graze the crossbar and fall harmlessly out of bounds.

In the 80th minute, the Rams' Alejandro Rey found himself breaking in all alone on Holt, but Holt ran to meet him at the top of the box, suffocating what would be a golden opportunity to put the visitors on the board.

In the 27th minute, what appeared to be a broken play turned into Smith's fourth of the year and first-game winner of the season. A broken entry pass through the Ram back line squirted free to Smith, who cut into the middle before letting go a shot that breezed past TWU keeper Marko Jovanovic. 

Less than two minutes later, JBU's leading scorer struck in typical Omondi fashion, capping off a beautiful passing play with a strike to the back of the net.

Sophomore Ryan Williams began the play by getting a ball to freshman Joao Silva in the midfield. Silva played a pass up the right flank to junior Steve Teshima who launched a pass to Omondi after cutting into the middle. Low on real estate and with defenders closing in, Omondi fired his 13th of the season the outside of his foot to the far right post, padding the Golden Eagle lead by two.

The assist was Silva's first-career point. 

After a sizeable shot margin in the first half, 11-4, John Brown piled on in the second half by a 14-3 count.

Omondi led all players with six shot attempts while Silva, who also made his first collegiate start, added four in the JBU victory.


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