Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles found themselves in a tough position due to an array of injuries and Hardin-Simmons took advantage of a penalty kick in overtime to claim a 1-0 victory in American Southwest Conference play Saturday.
Ozarks (3-5-0, 2-2-0 ASC) was battered and bruised in the match with as many as four starters having trouble with injuries. The most serious came early in the match when sophomore forward Scott Janders broke his leg. The Eagles then rallied around Janders unfortunate situation and played inspired the rest of the way, according to head coach John Cossaboon.
“Early on it was a very physical match,” said Cossaboon. “We had several freshmen step up after Scott broke his leg. Each of those young players grew up. Those kids played for Scott today and rose to a new level. It was an intense soccer match. We missed a number of scoring chances. This was the best soccer we’ve played since I’ve been at Ozarks.”
The Eagles outshot the Cowboys (5-2-0, 3-1-0 ASC) 5-1 in the first half and had a pair of corner kick opportunities. Ozarks surged in the final five minutes of regulation, as Francisco Garza, Josh Duncan, Marcus Aldaba, and Tony Santoro each recorded shots. Ozarks’ inspired defense gave up just two shots on goal against the Cowboys the entire match. After a scoreless 90 minutes, Hardin-Simmons’ Chris O’Brien would connect on controversial penalty kick that was awarded in the 97th minute.
“There was a questionable penalty kick awarded in overtime that resulted in the game-winning goal,” said Cossaboon. “It was a shame that the game had to end on that penalty kick. Our guys had their backs against the wall the entire match and they still played Ozarks’ attacking soccer.”
Aldaba had a team-best four shots. Neil Thompson posted one save.
Ozarks will host Mary Hardin-Baylor September 30 and Howard Payne October 2.