HAVILAND, Kansas—The Faith Eagles men's soccer team came away from this weekend's conference tournament with two wins, a third-place finish, and (most importantly) confidence.
After struggling the last month of the regular season, the conference tournament was just what the doctor ordered for the team to get back on track before next week's regional tournaments in Watertown, Wisconsin.
Semifinal vs. Manhattan Christian
Friday night's semifinal match against Manhattan Christian started an hour late due to a double-overtime match between Ozark Christian and Emmaus. After a long day of downtime, the Eagles didn't appear sluggish, battling to a 0-0 halftime score.
A controversial foul call on Faith at the 56:18 mark of the second half resulted in a penalty kick, which Manhattan Christian put through the net for a 1-0 lead. Despite a solid defensive effort for the Eagles, the Thunder put two more on the board before Nathan Stupka was able to answer for Faith. The final score was Manhattan Christian 3, Faith 1.
Consolation Game vs. Ozark Christian
The Eagles and Ozark Christian played nearly identical soccer in the battle for third place.
After a scoreless first half, it appeared the two teams may play to a 0-0 tie, but Ozark Christian scored with 15 minutes remaining in the game, putting serious pressure on the Faith offense to answer in a short time frame. Four minutes later, Faith answered with a goal from Isaac Mosher.
After two overtimes of scoreless soccer, the game came down to a shootout on penalty kicks. For Ozark Christian, it was their second consecutive game that came down to kicks. They lost the night before to Emmaus on penalty kicks, 4-2.
The Eagles were successful on their first kick, and goalie Daniel Moore made a great block on Ozark Christian's ensuing kick to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage after the first attempt. Andrew Baldwin made it two for two on Faith's kicks, giving Faith a 2-0 lead before Ozark connected on their second try to make it 2-1. Things got interesting when the Eagles missed their third try, but Moore made another diving save on the Faith end to keep the score 2-1. Nathan Stupka kicked a perfect shot into the right corner on his attempt, giving the Eagles a comfortable 3-1 lead. Ozark answered back on their try to make it 3-2, but team captain Cole Glanzer sealed the victory for Faith with a well-placed shot just past the outstretched arms of the Ozark Christian goalie.
The Eagles head to Watertown, Wisconsin on Thursday for the NCCAA regional tournaments against an opponent to be determined. Faith finished the regular season with a record of 7-7-3.