Ninety minutes of regulation and two overtime periods were not enough to determine the winner. It took a shootout, and after all that action, Pensacola Christian College came out on top, defeating the Trinity Baptist College Eagles for the South Region men’s soccer championship.
Both teams scored within the game’s first 12 minutes. Trinity’s Angelo Fernandez headed the ball into the net on a pass from Josh Briones (assist) 10:18 into the first half. Just 1:38 later, Pensacola tied the score on a goal from Paul Stewart assisted by Jake McClelland. The two teams played rock-solid defense for the duration and went into halftime tied at 1-1.
The score remained 1-1 throughout the second half and two overtime periods with neither team able to break the tie. Both teams had scoring opportunities but could not convert thanks in part to the defense and the stellar play of both goalkeepers.
Trinity’s Kyle Aultman saved eight of nine shots on goal (22 attempts) while Pensacola’s Tyler Jensen saved four of Trinity’s five shots on goal (16 attempts).
Pensacola won it in the shootout by scoring on all five attempts. Stewart, McClelland, Nick Standridge, Adrian Torres, and Josh Gijsbertha all connected. Fernandez, Clayton McDaniel, and Alvaro Poveda all hit successfully in the shootout for Trinity. Jensen made a diving save that gave Gijsbertha and his team the game winner.
Pensacola Christian advances to the NCCAA Division 2 National Championship Tournament. Trinity still has a chance to earn one of two upcoming at-large bids as they finished the regular season as the #5 team in all of Division 2 and the #2 seed in the South Region tournament. Should the Eagles get the invitation, they will join Pensacola Christian and Bob Jones University in representing the South Region.
The championship tournament will occur from November 15-18 at Bob Jones University.
–Raymond Bureau, TBC