Clarksville, Ark.- Ryan Cooper ripped the game-winning goal in the 69th minute to push the Eagles past Mary Hardin-Baylor 2-1 in American Southwest Conference play Saturday.
Senior defender Dan De Hart put Ozarks (9-2-2, 4-2-1) on the scoreboard first when he used his 6-foot-1 frame to sky through the Crusader defense and head the ball in the goal off a corner kick. Shaun Renfro picked up the assist.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Crusaders (3-4-2, 2-4-2) would tie the match at 1-1 when Gilbert Orozco flicked in a header from 20 yards out in the 68th minute. However, Cooper, a sophomore midfielder, provided Ozarks with heroics as he ripped a shot in the upper post in the 69th. It was his fourth goal of the season and his team-leading third game-winner of the season. Guido Salas nearly put the Eagles up 3-1 in the 78th minute when he beat two defenders and fired off a shot, but Crusader goalkeeper Jude Austin made a nice diving save to his right to stop the potential goal.
Ozarks goalkeeper Brian Sarber had four saves.
Ozarks will travel to Seguin, Texas, to face Texas Lutheran University October 17.
-Dan De Hart’s header against the Crusaders was reminiscent of a similar play he and Shaun Renfro connected on in last season’s playoffs against Mississippi College. The Eagles also won that match 2-1.
-Ryan Cooper already has three game-winning goals this season. The team season record is six, shared by both Ricky Herrera (2001) and Jared Gordon (2006).
-Ozarks is 7-2-2 all-time against Mary Hardin-Baylor.
-Eight different players for Ozarks have scored three or more goals this season.
-Family weekend provided the Eagles with their largest home crowd of the season with an official attendance of 454, as recorded by the Sports Information Office.