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Eagles Win ASC Championship, Advance To NCAA Tourney

November 8, 2003
By cnp
Posted in Athletics

Clarksville, Ark.-The U of O men's soccer team won its first American Southwest Conference championship and earned the school's first-ever appearance in a NCAA tournament with a 2-1 win over host institution UT-Dallas in the ASC finals on Saturday evening in Richardson, Texas.

It is the first team of any kind at Ozarks to play in the NCAA championships. Ozarks will play Trinity University (19-0-0), the number-one ranked team in NCAA III, in Atlanta, Georgia, on the campus of Emory University. The match is set for 11 a.m. eastern/10 a.m. central on Saturday, November 15. The Eagles (13-7-1, 9-4-1) cap a spectacular four-year run in which they made four straight post-season appearances and played in three tournament finals in those years. "I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for a group of guys," said head coach Dave De Hart, who entered the match as the winningest ASC coach the last four years. "It ranks among the best accomplishments in my coaching career and is the biggest college coaching win I’ve had. The key to this championship was our tough schedule we played during the regular season. Our challenging schedule made us match tough. We’ve played in so many close games and so many tough games this season that those matches were preparatory for this tournament." Ozarks, the number two-seed from the East division, gave up a goal in the 26th minute and faced a 1-0 deficit at halftime to the Comets (13-8-0). "I ask our guys at halftime to not leave the game without having put everything into it," said De Hart. "The turning point of the match was our second half switch to move Ricky to forward and Justin to the midfield. After making that adjustment, everything starting clicking for us. It all just fell into place." Persistency and consistency paid off for the Eagles when senior forward Ricky Herrera, the school’s all-time leading scorer, came through in the clutch with a goal in the 69th minute. Herrera’s 54th career goal sent a well-traveled, boisterous Ozarks crowd into frenzy. Herrera let his talent and experience lead to beating two of the league’s top defenders to the goal. Sophomore forward Ron Hogsett received the assist. With momentum in favor of the Eagles and with a shocked Comets squad looking on, Ozarks would score the game-winning goal just three minutes later. Tournament Most Valuable Player Justin Goodman netted the clincher in the 72nd minute off a perfect lob pass from Hogsett. Goodman, a junior midfielder from Russellville, headed the ball in traffic for his biggest goal at Ozarks thus far. Goodman gathered MVP honors after scoring one goal against McMurry and turning in a dominating performance in the midfield. Joining Goodman on the all-tournament team were teammates Chris Schultz (goalkeeper), Will Brahic (midfielder) and Taylor Magee (forward). Goodman led the squad with six shots. Herrera, a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Brahic, a native of Modesto, California, each had two shots. Goalkeeper Chris Schultz had eight saves in the win. Other All-Tournament Team selections included: UT-Dallas - MF Rami Darwish; D T.J. Cleavelin; and D Roger Maher; McMurry - MF Matt Reddington; D Michael McCormick; and Hardin-Simmons- D Brad Barham; F Chris Carroll. McMurry University Semi-Finals Match The Eagles advanced to the American Southwest Conference championship match with a dominating 3-0 win over McMurry University (13-5-1, 9-0-1) and avenged an earlier 6-0 loss to the Indians on the campus of the University of Texas-Dallas on Friday afternoon. Under rainy conditions, the Eagles started the match strong by man-handling the Indians on the offensive end. A Justin Goodman shot went off the post early in the half, setting the momentum for the Eagles. Goodman and company recorded nine shots in the first 45 minutes of play. Senior forward Taylor Magee, who scored Ozarks’ first goal in last year’s ASC tournament game against Texas Lutheran, scored twice to give the Eagles a 2-0 advantage. Magee’s first goal came in the 20th minute off a pass from Ron Hogsett. Magee’s 15 yard shot in front of the goal was his second of the year. His second score came in the 25th minute on a ball from Malcolm Williams and was near the same spot as his first. Goodman would then score on a header to push the Eagles lead to 3-0 at halftime. Hogsett recorded the assist. The Eagles had 15 shots on the day while the Indians recorded 17 shots. Goodman led the squad with five shots, including two on goal. Hogsett and Will Brahic each recorded three shots. Magee, a native of El Dorado, had two shots. Goalkeeper Chris Schultz had six saves. The tournament bracket can be found at ncaa.org.

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