BETHANY, Okla. — The Central Christian College men's soccer team's season came to an end on Wednesday afternoon with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Southwestern Christian University Eagles in the semifinals of the NCCAA Regional Tournament.
The game was well played by both sides and dead even through the first 45 minutes of action. It didn't take long for all of that to change in the second half.
Just six minutes in, the Tigers broke the deadlock when Jayke Maples found the back of the net off an assist from Matias Nunez. The Tigers hunkered down and for the next 17 minutes held the Eagles off. But they wouldn't be denied, and in the 70th minutes tied the game at one.
With the goal, the momentum seemed to swing in the Eagles' favor, but the Tigers recovered and did well to keep them off the board the rest of the way in regulation. Unfortunately, in the fifth minute of the first overtime session, the Eagles broke through and got behind the Tiger defense to score the game winner.
"I thought that we did enough to win the game today,” Central head coach Aaron Hoxie said. “We defended very well, attacked with purpose, and play with the heart that we expect. The soccer portion didn't smile on us today, however, as we missed several chances inside the box, and were generally unlucky on the game winning goal.
"I never thought that we were outmatched by them. Sure, they've got quality all over, and are a really good team, but so do we, and we showed it today. Actually, we've showed it all season, losing two games by one goal, at their place, against the defending NCCAA National Champs, it's a tough journey that probably has ended."
The season is likely over for the Tigers, who finish at 10-9-1, though according to Hoxie there is still an outside chance that they will get an at large bid to the NCCAA National Tournament,
"Our Longo [rating] isn't good enough, but our performances against NCCAA schools have been. Maybe we'll have some fortune."
The Tigers will know their final fate in a few days as the national tournament field will be set by this weekend.