Eagles Drop Semi-Final to Manhattan, Win in Exciting Fashion Over Ozark

Eagles Drop Semi-Final to Manhattan, Win in Exciting Fashion Over Ozark

After an impressive 5-0 win in the first round of the MCCC tournament the Eagles were matched up against #7 ranked and second seeded Manhattan Christian College. Faith was able to get on the scoreboard first in the 40th minute when Joseph Frerichs cut through a series of defenders and put the ball in the back of the net off an assist from Tui Hunkin. Just before the halftime whistle Manhattan was able to equalize with a good pass between Eagle defenders and knot the game at 1-1.

Manhattan was able to get a second goal off a perfect free kick from the edge of the 18 yard box in the 63rd minute.  The Eagles kept fighting back but late in the game goalkeeper David Levy was forced to charge for a ball outside the 18 yard box that ended up landing on the foot of a Manhattan attacker with an empty net. The goal made the final a disappointing 3-1 despite Faith outshooting them 14 to 11.

The Eagles were given a chance to redeem themselves in the third place match against Ozark Christian College the next day.  The game started evenly matched as teams traded opportunities, but midway through the period Ozark began to take control of the match and put Faith under mounting pressure until the break.

After halftime Faith began to show much more life and began controlling the game, but Ozark was able to transition quickly and score off a shot that Levy got his hands on but wasn't able to keep out of the net in the 53rd minute.  The Eagles did not skip a beat and were able to put Ozark under pressure for long stretches of time after that.  Faith outshot Ozark 11-2 in the second half and 24-10 in the match, but it wasn't until the 79th minute that the Eagles were able to get on the scoreboard.  Faith swung the ball around the edge of the penalty box until Caleb Acree found Joseph Frerichs who was able to hit an unstoppable shot from the corner of the 18 into the upper-ninety of the back post.

Faith pressed hard through the end of regulation and both overtimes but were not able to get the game-winner, so the match went into penalty kicks.  Faith won the coin toss and elected to shoot first.  Tui Hunkin stepped up and hammered the ball past the keeper while Ozark put their first shot wide to give the Eagles the advantage after the first round. Frerichs took the second shot and without hesitation put it in the net and Ozark was able to put their next shot in.  The Eagles again traded makes as Marcus Wilkes placed his shot perfectly to put the Eagles up 3-2 after three rounds.  JJ Parkhurst had the goalie beat but his shot was just high and struck the crossbar so a make for Ozark would have knotted the shoutout at 3-3 going into the final round, but freshman goalkeeper David Levy stepped up and made a critical save to preserve the lead and put the pressure on senior captain Zach Peterson to win it.  Peterson confidentially placed the ball just past the diving goalie to help the Eagles win 1-1 (4-2) in penalties and earn third place.

Faith was also able to bring home several honors at the conference awards banquet.  Frerichs earned All-Conference Honorable Mention and Aaron Jones, Josh Bray, Tui Hunkin, and Zach Peterson were all named to the All-Conference First Team.  The Eagles were recognized for being the regular season runner-up, but most importantly Faith earned the Sportsmanship Award as voted on by the coaches in the conference.

The Eagles will make a quick turnaround after the long weekend to play this Tuesday and Wednesday in the region tournament for a chance at an automatic birth to the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, FL.