Article by Jeremy Nelson
Photo by Emily McGarity
After the exciting finish of the women's game at 6:00, the men's teams took the field and capped off an exciting night of soccer. All night, the Tigers seemed the more technically sound side, doing nice job of controlling the ball in the midfield and creating scoring opportunities, but it was the Crusaders who would strike first and take control of the game. MCC started the scoring on a free kick in the 8th
minute of the game. The Tiger defense left a crusader attacker unmarked in the middle of the field. The free kick found his foot and he fired it past David Armstrong
, who was in goal for a suspended Alex Akrawi
. Sixteen minutes later the Crusaders went up 2-0 on another free kick. Again from the left side of the 18 yard box. This time the free kick was deflected as it went across the goal mouth and found the back of the net.
The two goal deficit left the Tigers dejected and frustrated with each other. Needing a spark, the Tigers received it in the 36th minute from Omar Acosta. Acosta who came off the bench just moments earlier, received a pass from Luis Barajas and looped a shot from the top of the 18 yard box just over the outstretched hand of the MCC goal keeper. Re-energized, the Tigers had a spring in their step as the went in the half down 2-1.
The Tigers dominated the second half of play consistently keeping the ball on the Crusaders' side of the field. The Crusaders, unable to do much work in the midfield resorted to trying to play the ball over the top of the Tiger defense, or counter attacking when the Tigers turned it over. The equalizer came for the Tigers in the 70th minute off of a free kick from Kenny Cann. Cann played the ball into the box where a mass of bodies were converged. The ball fell to the feet of Luis Barajas who chipped it over the head of the Crusader goal keeper. Tied at 2-2, the Tigers would have a couple of more scoring chances but were unable to get the game winner in regulation.
For the 3rd time this season, the Tigers would go to overtime. Just 3 ½ minutes into the first overtime session, Gunnar Kelly received a ball on right side and took the ball to the end line. Kelly gained a step on the Crusader defender and cut the ball back across the 6 yard box. Several players from both teams were there in the box, and a Crusader defender knocked the ball into his own goal to end the game and give the Tigers their 8th win of the season. An elated Coach Hoxie commented on the win saying, "Wow! Tough game. I am very proud of our resilience. We played very well after we went down two and worked very hard for the result. What a goal from Omar! "
The Tigers are now 8-6-1 on the season. They will host a tough Central Baptist team on Saturday at 8:00 pm for their homecoming game.