The Eagle men dropped a heartbreaker to #1 seeded and NCCAA #5 ranked Ozark Christian College yesterday in the Midwest Christian College Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Semifinal. The loss drops the Eagles to 9-7-1 overall. Faith will face #2 seeded and NCCAA #8 ranked Barclay College in the third place game at 1 PM Saturday.
The Eagles had faced Ozark a few weeks ago, dropping a 0-1 game at home. Ozark controlled the contest early on, putting pressure on the Eagle defense, but the defense held strong. Faith managed just three shots in the first half, but capitalized on one of the those three 23 minutes into the game. Ryan Koch rifled a shot from 25 yards out that bounced just in front of the Ozark keeper's diving body, bouncing over the keeper and into the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. With a strong wind at their back, the Eagles were able to maintain their lead into the break, despite being outshot by Ozark 16-3.
The second half was all Ozark, with Faith struggling against the Ozark offense as well as the strong wind. Ozark was finally able to end the Eagles five games in a row shut out streak when the Eagles were called for a foul in the box. Ozark put away the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game at 1-0 63 minutes into the game. Momentum shifted even more towards Ozark with the goal, and a miscommunication three minutes later led to a poorly cleared ball and an Ozark header past keeper Jason Scheps for a 2-1 Ozark lead. Faith struggled to mount any significant offensive attack for the rest of the half, dropping their first loss of October.
The 2-1 loss was an admirable loss for an Eagles team that was outshot 27-3 in the game. Jason Scheps recorded eight saves. Faith has show steady improvement since the beginning of the year with six of their seven losses to NCCAA Top Ten teams. Their other loss was to NAIA Presentation College. The Eagles will take another shot at an NCCAA ranked team Saturday morning when they face #8 ranked Barclay College in the third place game. Faith will look to continue to improve as they work towards the NCCAA North Central Regional Tournament and a shot at advancing to the national tournament November 8/9. The Eagles will host that tournament as well.