Holt makes history; Perfect passing results in quarterfinal victory for men’s soccer

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- While the No. 18 and second-seeded John Brown University men's soccer team took nearly a half to get its conference-leading offense going, sophomore Kelvin Omondi struck just before the break and sophomore Ryan Williamsstruck late for insurance as the Golden Eagles moved into the Sooner Athletic tournament semifinal with a 2-0 win over seventh-seeded Texas Wesleyan on Saturday (Nov. 5) afternoon at Alumni Field.

The win over the Rams (4-11-2) was the second in as many weeks for the Golden Eagles (13-2-2) as JBU was the first team in bracket to punch a spot in the conference final four teams.

While Wesleyan often clogged up the middle and showed more of an offensive push than last week, also a 2-0 Golden Eagle win, the hosts held the vast majority of the possession time and a 22-7 shooting margin.

Junior Adam Holt needed just a pair of saves, but in doing so, set a new program record with his 11th shutout of the season and the 23rd of his career. His actual 23.1 clean sheets, after splitting a game with Connor Georgopulos in a 6-0 win over Evangel (Mo.) in 2015, surpasses a 34-year program record (23) set by Steve Wilson in 1982. With one more clean sheet, Holt can also set a new single-season shutout record, as Wilson's 12 in 1981 still stands.

Omondi's 15th of the season was a result of sharp passing, none more so than junior Collin Smith's no-look flick deep in the box. Sophomore Ashby Clark began the counterattack on the right flank, sending a low cross into the box. Smith changed the angle of the pass, which went directly to Omondi, seven yards out from the goal, who smashed in a one-touch past TWU keeper Marko Jovanovic for his SAC-leading 15th strike of the season. 

After out-shooting the visitors 9-3 in the first half, the Golden Eagles continued the ball possession dominance and fired 13 targets toward Jovanovic, including seven on target.

Finally, in the 85th minute, JBU earned its much-needed insurance goal when Williams' eighth of the season ended any and all hopes the Rams had at a late comeback. Junior Steve Teshima's cross from the right flank found freshman Amilcar Gonzalez waiting at the back post. Instead of attempting a shot, Gonzalez headed the cross directly to Williams as he waited in the slot. Williams ripped a low shot to the bottom left corner to solidify John Brown's third-consecutive trip to the semifinals in as many seasons. 

Jovanovic finished with seven saves, but was dinged with the loss. Holt moved his season record up to 13-2-2 with the win, which is tied for second all-time in single-season program history.

The Golden Eagles will await the result of sixth-seeded Bacone (Okla.) and third-seeded Science & Arts (Okla.). The winner of that quarterfinal match will travel to Siloam Springs on Tuesday (Nov. 8) for a 4 p.m. kick off.

 

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