Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's soccer team heads into their American Southwest Conference weekend trip as the league's second place team and are in position to host the six-team ASC post-season playoff tournament thanks largely to owning the conference's top defensive unit.
Dave De Hart’s Eagles (10-2-3, 6-1-2) would be guaranteed to host the ASC tournament with a four-game sweep of their remaining league opponents. The league’s top finisher of the regular season serve’s as the host school and receives the number-one seed for the November 4-6 event. UT-Tyler is currently ahead of Ozarks in the league standings, but the Patriots are not eligible for post-season play because they are provisional members of the NCAA. ????? The Eagles, who won the 2003 ASC tournament, have used a mixture of veterans and a talented group of young players to put themselves in position to earn the tournament’s number-one seed. It has been their defensive accomplishments, however, that has been most impressive. Ozarks’ stingy defense has given up just 11 goals, least in the ASC. They also can claim a league-best eight shutouts. With several new starters gracing De Hart’s lineup along with the team’s rash of injuries this season, senior defender Lars Nyberg has been a staple in the Eagles’ efforts. Nyberg, 6-4 native of Georgetown, Texas, has been a four-year starter for the Eagles. ????? "Lars has stepped up in his leadership role this season," said De Hart. "I think the biggest improvement in his game this year is he is a more consistent player and is more under control. He’s been an anchor defensively for us." ????? Freshman goalkeeper Brian Sarber has also played a prominent role in the team’s success. He leads the ASC in goals against average (.52) and shutouts (5.5). Offensively, senior Ron Hogsett leads the team with nine goals and 23 points. Junior Ryan Skelly follows with seven goals and 16 points. ????? Ozarks travels Mary Hardin-Baylor and Concordia-Austin this weekend and then will finish their regular season conference slate with home matches against Texas Lutheran on October 28 and Schreiner University on October 29.