Tournament Run Ends in Heartbreaking Defeat

Tournament Run Ends in Heartbreaking Defeat

On November 2-4 the men's soccer team traveled to Dubuque, IA for the NCCAA North Region tournament with the winner of the region advancing to the NCCAA national tournament in South Carolina. The Eagles were the 3 seed and took on the Calvary Warriors in the first round.

The Eagles controlled the game from beginning to end. Twenty minutes into the competition Oleg Orlov got the scoring started when he received a pass from Andrew Baldwin and put it in the back of the net. Then just 3 minutes later Caleb Sturgis increased the Eagle lead when he snuck a ball through the keepers legs to make it a 2-0 game. Jordan Schmidt added another in the 30th minute off an assist from Oleg, and the Eagles would take a 3-0 lead into halftime.

The Eagles continued to control possession in the game and extended their lead yet again when Caleb Acree scored his first goal of the season off an assist from Andrew Baldwin. Then just a minute later Jordan Schmidt scored his second goal of the game off an assist from Trent Vugteveen. The Eagles, however, did allow Calvary to get one back in the 77th minute, but it was too little too late, and the Eagles came away with a convincing 5-1 win.

The win moved the Eagles into the semi-final where they would face Maranatha Baptist University for a spot in the region championship and a chance to make it to the national tournament. The teams had not met previously during the regular season. The game started out pretty fast-paced with Maranatha having a few dangerous opportunities in the opening minutes of the game. After the first minutes passed the Eagles eventually got settled in and it was a back and forth battle the rest of the first half with Maranatha controlling more possession than Faith but the Eagles countering with several offensive opportunities in transition. The score would remained deadlocked at 0-0 to end the first half.  

The second half was almost a mirror image of the first. The game became more physical as time went on as both teams were trying to figure out how to break down the other's defense and take the advantage. Both teams had plenty of opportunities, but neither could capitalize throughout most of the second half. With about ten minutes left in the half, the Eagles got one of their best opportunities of the day finally getting past the Sabercat defense for a clean look but Maranatha's keeper made a great save to keep the score tied at zero. Then just as the teams were looking to overtime, Maranatha scored a heartbreaking goal with 27 seconds left in the game, beating Faith's defense in a counter attack for the clean shot. The Eagles did manage to get a final opportunity in the closing seconds but fell short with a difficult 0-1 loss. 

"Our guys played well today and fought hard, all you can ask from your team in the Regional semi-final against a very good Maranatha team," noted Coach Jordan Sauser. "We had some chances, and it's certainly heartbreaking to end in such dramatic fashion, but I'm proud of the way the guys prepared all season for this tournament and came out and competed today." 

The Eagles have one more weekend of soccer in their season as they prepare for the ACCA tournament which will take place November 9-10 in Joplin, MO.