Set piece bounces men’s soccer from National Championships

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Just as it did so many times throughout the season, a set piece in the 59th minute cost the No. 18 and 19th-seeded John Brown University men's soccer team, and it did again as it proved to be the difference in a 1-0 season-ending defeat to No. 17 and 14th-seeded William Carey in the Opening Round of the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships on Saturday (Nov. 19) at the WCU Soccer Complex.

The Golden Eagles (13-4-2) heavily out-shot and out-chanced the hosts to the tune of 14-6 and limited William Carey (16-2-1) to just one shot on goal, the untimely strike the forced JBU from the big dance.

"We put together a very good performance today," argued head coach Scott Marksberry. "I thought we controlled the tempo, the possession, and the chances, but we didn't score. We hit the post, their keeper made a really good save, and their defenders blocked shots well. Credit William Carey for their commitment to defending throughout the game. Our boys have a lot to be proud of. I'm not sure we could have done much about that goal. It is too bad that our season ended on a goal like that, but we can't control those moments.

"It was a good season. I think our team improved, and we learned a lot about how to use this game as a way to worship the Lord. Our two seniors have left a great mark on this program, and the rest of the guys will be very hungry to make a deeper run next year.

Sophomore Ashby Clark's shot hit the post in the 32nd minute, but neither team could claim a goal in the opening 45 minutes of play as the Golden Eagles carried an 8-2 shooting advantage into the half, forcing WCU keeper Grand Adam to make a trio of saves, two on sophomore Kelvin Omondi attempts and a third on sophomore Ryan Williams.

Both teams buzzed early in the second half, launching a pair of shots each within the first 10 minutes of play. However in the 59th minute, Carey's Matt Redgrave knocked in his fourth off the season off a corner kick from Johnny Buckle.

Williams managed a shot on goal in the 67th minute, but John Brown had a difficult time creating quality, in-tight scoring chances. While the same could be said about the Crusaders, it was the hosts that just needed to sit back and defend the rest of the way.

JBU's last opportunity came in the 80th minute when Williams had a free kick from 45 yards out from the flank. Unable to lay a ball into the box or an attempt on goal, the service sailed over the goal, ending the Golden Eagles' chances at advancing to the National Championships final site.

Omondi and Williams led all players with five shot attempts. Senior Adam Holt didn't register a save, and finishes the season at 13-4-2. Adam collected four saves, raising his record to 16-2-1.

The Crusaders advance to take on third-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan in the Round of 16 on Tuesday (Nov. 29) at 4 p.m.

The loss signaled the end of a two collegiate careers for John Brown, Daniel Marulanda and Hazeley Pyle.

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