Sewanee, Tenn.-The U of O men?s soccer team overcame a 4-1 second half deficit to eventually tie the match near the end of regulation and end the day with a 4-4 tie against Berry College Sunday in the Kyle Rote Jr. Invitational in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Ozarks (2-0-1) would storm back after facing a 3-0 halftime deficit before answering with a goal in the 47th minute from Marcus Aldaba. Berry (2-1-1) responded with a goal to move ahead 4-1 in the 53rd minute. But after that, it was all Ozarks. The Eagles displayed moxie and energy in the final 37 minutes of regulation to send the match into overtime. Shaun Keane fueled the comeback with a goal in the 57th minute on an assist from Gage Merritt. Travis Leach followed with a goal in the 66th minute to put the Eagles within 4-3. Aldaba assisted on Leach’s score. With momentum on their side, the Eagles evened the match at 4-4 when Tony Ramos put one in the back of the net in the 85th minute. Ozarks nearly ended the match in the second overtime, but failed to convert a penalty kick.
“It was one of the greatest games I’ve seen at Ozarks,” said head coach John Cossaboon. “It was an amazing comeback. Our guys were banged up from the previous match, but they displayed a great amount of energy and passion today. Our boys left everything on the field. To get a tie today is one of the greatest team accomplishments I’ve witnessed here. It was a special day.”
The Eagles totaled 11 shots in the match with Thomas Mills leading the way with three. Goalkeeper Austin Benner recorded 12 saves in 110 minutes of play.
“Berry is a very good team,” said Cossaboon. “They won their conference last season. We have played good teams this season and our guys have gained mental strength. The boys believe in themselves, but we have got to learn not to drop our heads in certain situations. If we can do that, we are capable of amazing things.”
Following the Kyle Rote Jr. Invitational Tournament, Cossaboon and his coaching staff nominated Aldaba as the American Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week and Leach as the Defensive Player of the Week for their outstanding efforts over the weekend.
Ozarks will host Hendrix College September 11 at 4:00 pm.