Nov 20, 2017
The Eagle men soccer team finished off their season by participating in the ACCA National tournament in Joplin, MO. In the first round, Faith faced off for the third time against Kansas Christian College. KCC had already qualified for the NCCAA National tournament hosted at Bob Jones the following week but had chosen to participate in the ACCA tournament as well. With KCC resting a few key starters, Faith controlled much of the game. Despite controlling possession and having multiple scoring opportunities, the Eagles led just 1-0 at the half, thanks to a goal from senior Joseph Frerichs. Joseph would extend Faith's lead early in the second half with a second unassisted goal to make it 2-0. Oleg Orlov followed that up with a nice goal on the assist from Trent Vugteveen to give Faith the 3-0 lead. Faith would hold that lead over the final 15 minutes for the 3-0 victory.
Faith finished the tournament by squaring off in the championship game against a very good Randall University team. Faith was put on their heels early and often in the first half with Randall's fluid team passing attack. Randall capitalized well on their opportunities with some great finishes to put the game well in hand at the half 5-0. Faith showed great team character in the second half, despite the deficit and finally saw their efforts payoff. Joseph finished off his last game as an Eagle with a couple of great goals as he sliced his way through the Randall defense and gave Faith it's only two goals of the contest.
"Certainly that first half took us all by surprise. Randall is a very talented team that came out and played some great soccer and were on point with their shots," said Coach Jordan Sauser. "I thought the guys responded well in the second half, not just with a better half on the scoreboard but showing the character I've seen from them all season by battling together and finishing the game out as a team."
As a team, Faith was able to improve and build upon its regular season record from a year ago. The Eagles finished the season out at 11-8-1. Faith was helped this year by enjoying much better team health, experiencing far fewer injury issues than a year ago. The regular season was highlighted by several strong performances. Of their 7 regular season wins, 4 of them were decided by 5 goals or more. The post season was highlighted with strong competitive performances. They finished 3rd in the Midwest Christian College Conference regular season and 3rd in the MCCC tournament. Both the conference tournament and the regional tournament saw Faith miss out on advancing by a single goal in the closing minute(s) of both games. Faith outscored their opponents by a 14-3 margin in the two tournaments combined with 2 of those 3 goals allowed, proving to be the fatal blows. Faith concluded the season by finishing runner-up in the ACCA tournament.
The strong season was rewarded with several players receiving individual awards for the Eagles. Oleg Orlov and Joseph Frerichs both received NCCAA Student Athlete of the Week honors over the course of the season. Andrew Baldwin and Jason Scheps were named to the MCCC All-Conference 2nd team. Oleg Orlov joined seniors Joey Young and Joseph Frerichs on the MCCC All-Conference 1st team with Joseph also being named the conference MVP. Jason Scheps and Joseph Frerichs were both named to the All-Region team as well.
"It was a really great season, start to finish with a great group of guys that really competed together as a team," noted Coach Sauser. "This team benefited from outstanding leadership from its upperclassmen and seniors. Seniors, captains, and four-year players Joey and Joseph both had great seasons and will certainly be missed going forward, both on and off the field. Very thankful that Caleb Acree and Jason Scheps juggled busy schedules with seminary and family life to be a part of the team this season as well."
In a season where the Eagles enjoyed great leadership and experience on its roster, returning 8 players who had been starters in previous seasons, they also had a roster with 11 freshmen. So while there will be holes to fill with the departure of 5 senior players, the Eagles will look to build into next year off of the valuable experience the underclassmen gained this season.
- Coach Sauser