Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles are set to take on Mississippi College in the semi-finals of the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Ozarks (16-4-0, 11-2-0) won the 2007 ASC season championship and received the No.1 seed. The Eagles are making their league-record eighth consecutive trip to the post-season. Mississippi College (12-4-1, 10-2-1) advanced to the semi-finals with a 5-0 win over Hardin-Simmons University on Friday. The Choctaws are the No.4 seed in the six-team tournament and made the championship match last season. Ozarks lasted hosted the tournament in 2001 and won the tournament title in 2003.
The Choctaws defeated Ozarks 1-0 on September 29 in Clinton this season. Chris Rash scored the game-winner in the 59th minute to snap Ozarks 11-game win streak against the Choctaws. Ozarks owns a 12-5-1 all-time record against the Choctaws dating back to 1997. Mississippi College won their first ever battle 2-1 eleven seasons ago.
Ozarks and Mississippi College virtually finished the regular season among the top two ASC statistical leaders in a number of offensive categories. The Eagles scored a league-high 49 goals during regular season play, while the Choctaws recorded 41. Ozarks additionally led the ASC in shots (405), with Mississippi College ranking second with 322. Ozarks has eleven players who have scored at least two goals this season. Senior midfielder Darren Clark is the team leader with 11. He is followed by Brandon VanCleave (8), Brandon Cain (6) and Dylan Evans (5). Clark has had three games in which he has scored two goals, all coming in conference tilts late in the season. Ozarks finished the regular season as the league-leader in goals against average (0.64) and shutouts (9). Junior goalie Brian Sarber had seven shutouts and finished the regular season with a 0.59 goals against average.
Mississippi College’s Philip Buffington led the ASC in goals during the regular season with 17. He scored twice in Friday’s win over Hardin-Simmons. Mississippi College started freshman Andrew Dailey in goal on Friday.
All four of Ozarks’ losses this season have been by one goal. Similarly, three of the Choctaws’ four losses have been by a goal. The Eagles are currently riding a 13-game conference home win streak dating back to September 29, 2006
Audio streaming of the match can be heard at www.ombsports.com. Live stats can be found at http://www.ozarks.edu/athletics/msoccer/2007Tournament/default.asp.