Senior forward Darren Clark knocked in the game winner in the 87th minute leading U of O to a 2-1 win over Mississippi College.
Clarksville, Ark. – The University of the Ozarks men’s soccer team advanced to the championship of the American Southwest Conference Tournament with a 2-1 victory over No. 4 seed Mississippi College Saturday at Hurie Field.
The top-seeded Eagles (17-4-0) picked up an early goal as junior defender Dan De Hart headed home a pass from sophomore midfielder Shaun Renfro on a corner kick in the 14th minute.
“Set plays are a chance for us to bring forward some of our defensive players,” said Ozarks head coach Dave De Hart. “We have a few targets that we look for in these situations and Dan (De Hart) is one of them.”
The Eagles added a second goal of the contest in the 84th minute after senior forward Darren Clark carried the ball up the sideline for 35 yards before beating the Choctaws (12-5-1) freshman goalkeeper Andrew Dailey inside the near post. Clay Johnson received the assist.
“The goal felt great,” said Clark. “This could have been our last game, but I did all I could to make sure that didn’t happen today.”
It was Clark’s 12th goal of the season and his fourth game-winner.
Mississippi College’s lone goal came in the 87th minute as junior forward Chris Rash slipped a penalty kick through the hands of Eagles junior goalkeeper Brian Sarber.
Ozarks recorded 15 total shots, including nine on net, while receiving eight corner kicks. The Choctaws were also awarded eight corner kicks and posted 12 total shots, including five on target.
Sarber recorded four saves in net for the Eagles, while Dailey made seven stops for the Choctaws.
“The security of an athlete like Brian Sarber in goal changes everything,” said De Hart. “It allows us to take more chances defensively and his importance to this team is irreplaceable.”
Ozarks will take on the winner of the UT-Dallas and UT-Tyler semifinal match in the championship Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The winner of the ASC championship will receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship.