Clarksville, Ark.-The U of O men?s soccer team qualified for the American Southwest Conference playoffs after tying Texas-Dallas 0-0 Saturday in its final regular season match.
Ozarks (7-6-5, 2-2-4 ASC) will enter the ASC Tournament as the No. 6 seed and will play nationally-ranked Texas-Dallas (11-1-5, 5-1-4 ASC), the No. 3 seed, November 7 in Abilene, Texas at 2:00 p.m. Hardin-Simmons University (9-3-5, 6-0-4 ASC) will host the tournament as the No. 1 seed and will receive a first-round bye. Texas-Tyler (10-2-4, 7-2-1 ASC) will be the No. 2 seed and will also receive a first-round bye. Louisiana College (9-8-1, 6-3-1 ASC) and East Texas Baptist University (4-7-2, 3-5-2 ASC) will be the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively.
Coach Cossaboon Interview: http://youtu.be/1doUXH-nknQ
The Eagles were tied with both East Texas Baptist and Mary Hardin-Baylor for the final two spots with a .400 winning percentage. East Texas Baptist received the No. 5 seed and the Eagles earned the sixth seed by winning the ASC tie-breaker over Mary Hardin-Baylor, which didn’t have a win against Ozarks or East Texas Baptist. Ozarks last made the ASC playoffs in 2009. Mississippi College, which finished atop the league standings, is ineligible for the ASC Tournament due to its reclassification to NCAA Division II.
“The boys’ effort was phenomenal from beginning to end Saturday,” said head coach John Cossaboon. “We were fighting for our life to get into the tournament and Texas-Dallas was fighting for a first round bye. Our team has earned the privilege of making it to the post-season.”
In facing Texas-Dallas for the second straight match, Cossaboon doesn’t anticipate changing his philosophy against the Comets.
“My feeling is we have to go back and not change things in major ways,” said Cossaboon. “We need to bring that same effort. We deserved the result we got on the day. We are playing well right now. Going into the tournament, I’ve got to give credit to our defensive group. The defense has been holding us together lately.”
This tournament in particular will be wide-open, much like the regular season, according to Cossaboon.
“In terms of parity, this is the most competitive I’ve seen it,” said Cossaboon. “Every team has to show up with its best performance, and we are no different.”
The Eagles have been among the top offensive teams in the ASC all season. Ozarks is ranked in the top-3 in points, goals and assists. The Eagles have tremendous balance as seven different players have scored three or more goals. Shaun Keane and Thomas Mills each have seven goals. The Eagles are in the middle of the pack as a defensive unit, ranking fifth in shutouts (4) and sixth in goals against average (1.79).
The winner of the ASC Championship Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.
Hardin-Simmons University Soccer Complex - Abilene, Texas
Thursday, November 7
Game 1: #4 Louisiana College (6-3-1) vs. #5 East Texas Baptist (3-5-2), 11:00 a.m.
Game 2: #3 Texas-Dallas (5-1-4) vs. #6 Ozarks (2-4-4), 2:00 p.m.
Friday, November 8
Game 3: #1 Hardin-Simmons (6-0-4) vs. Winner Game 1, 11:00 a.m.
Game 4: #2 Texas-Tyler (7-2-1) vs. Winner Game 2, 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 10
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:00 p.m.