Abilene, Texas-The U of O men?s soccer team closed out the season with a 2-0 loss against No. 14 Texas-Dallas Thursday in the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament in Abilene, Texas.
Ozarks (7-7-5) controlled the first 25 minutes of the match, and had a number of opportunities to score during that span. Matt Weaver and Eloy Salgado each had shots in the 8th minute, but were unable to find the back of the net. Texas-Dallas goalkeeper Steven Nicknish made a big save on Salgado’s penalty kick in the 11th minute to keep the Eagles off the board. Texas-Dallas (12-1-5) eventually broke through Ozarks’ defense and scored in the 35th minute on a header by Omar Jaroun. The Comets added another goal just before the half to move ahead 2-0. Ozarks posted six shots in the first half and recorded a pair of corner kicks.
“We battled and we fought and had a lot of fire today,” said head coach John Cossaboon. “Today’s effort to me reflected on what the boys worked on all season. The coaching staff is very proud of them. We gave tremendous effort and I feel like Texas-Dallas is the best overall team in the conference when they have their players healthy. I’m thankful the seniors got us back to the playoffs.”
Ozarks continue to battle in the second half and put pressure on the Comet defense. Shaun Keane got a foot on a ball in front of the goal, but Nicknish was able to jump on it for a key save in the 65th minute. On the offensive attack again, Thomas Mills had a chip shot just minutes after Keane’s attempt, but the Comet goalkeeper again made a save. Ozarks’ goalkeeper Austin Benner made a number of important saves to keep Texas-Dallas off the board in the second half, none bigger than a stop in the 71st minute on Connor Crabtree’s shot. Mills followed in the 80th minute with another great shot only to have Nicknish make a leaping save.
Ozarks ended the match with ten shots. Mills had four shots and Salgado tallied two. Benner finished with ten saves in goal. Ozarks tied Texas-Dallas 0-0 in a match last weekend to qualify for the playoffs.