Belton, Texas-The Eagles advanced to the semi-finals of the American Southwest Conference tournament by virtue of a 3-1 penalty kick advantage in a shootout against Mississippi College Friday in Belton, Texas.
Ozarks (12-4-3) will play Hardin-Simmons University (9-2-5) tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship match Sunday.
Brandon VanCleave fueled a second half comeback after the Eagles trailed 2-0 at halftime. VanCleave would spark Ozarks with a goal in the 67th minute on an assist from Shaun Renfro. Seth Anderson would tie the match 2-2 when he connected on a header in the 78th minute on an assist from VanCleave. With momentum on Ozarks’ side, VanCleave would score again in the 82nd minute to put Ozarks ahead 3-2. Just as it appeared Ozarks would end the match with a narrow 3-2 win, Mississippi College (12-5-3) scored on a corner kick with less than two minutes remaining. After two scoreless overtimes and the scored tied at 3-3, the match went to a shootout.
VanCleave converted the opening PK, but was matched by Mississippi College’s Dylan Boudreaux. Aaron Brueckner was stopped by Choctaw goalkeeper Andrew Dailey in the next group, but Neil Thompson stoned the Choctaws’ Tyler Wade to keep it tied at one. Dylan Evans would miss the next shot for Ozarks, but the confident Thompson came up big again with another stop, this time against Barry Prather. Travis Murnan converted the next kick for Ozarks to give the Eagles a 2-1 edge and Michael Cooper missed high for the Choctaws. Renfro then banged home the next shot for Ozarks to send the Eagles on to the next round.
Ozarks totaled 16 shots in the match, with VanCleave leading the team with four.
Thompson ended with five saves.