The Central Christian College men’s soccer team opened up the NCCAA Central Region Tournament by outlasting Central Baptist College 3-2.
The Tigers, the No. 3 seed in the central regional, won despite being without the services of Gunnar Kelly, Central’s all-time leading goal scorer, who was forced to sit out after accumulating five yellow cards during the season.
Central took an early lead, as forward Ronnie Rocha scored off an assist from Kasey Sidor at the 7:08 mark in the game. Nearly an hour would pass before the next goal, made by CBC’s Ibrahim Ouattara at 54:28.
The Tigers would respond not 90 seconds later, as forward Martin Marfo would shoot a rocket into the goal off an assist from Stephen Craig to make it 2-1.
Rocha would find the goal again about five minutes later to make it 3-1 at 61:30. Sidor would, once more, be credited with the assist.
The Mustangs would get one last goal at 71:16 from Fabio Cunha, but the Tiger defense buckled down and goal tender Alex Akrawi cleaned up in front of the net, keeping CBC from sending the game into overtime.
“This was a great, gutsy win,” Central coach Aaron Hoxie said. “We did what needed to be done.”
Marfo led Central with shots on goal with four, half the team’s total of eight. Sidor’s two assists give him 13 for his career, moving him up in the all-time rankings.
Akrawi made 10 saves throughout the contest, as the Mustangs kept him busy throughout the match. CBC goal keeper Jonathon Kaufman made five saves for the Mustangs.
Central (10-8-1) took the field against No. 2 seed Southwestern Christian University at 2:30 p.m. today.
The Eagles narrowly defeated Central 2-1 in an overtime thriller in October.
That game was still underway at press time.