Friday November 6th
Southern Poly came into the opening round of the Conference Tournament looking to redeem their early round exit the previous year. They were ranked number one in the tournament and their opponents, Faulkner University, came into the game as the eighth seed.
The Hornets looked energized right from the get go and within the first five minutes got the vital first goal. Sophomore Sean Grisham found the ball on the right side and sent a great ball to the back post. It came off the inside of the post and a delighted Emeka Maduka would be right there to tap it in from a couple yards out. “When you’re in good form like Emeka is, things just go your way. He’s now had six game winners and this is his sixth in the Conference. I’m delighted he’s settled in well here at Southern Poly,” said Coach Kom Momeni after the game.
Southern Poly looked to extend their lead and at the twenty-five minute mark when German Midfielder, Henning Blenkle picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box and whipped in a powerful left-footed strike which found the Faulkner Goalkeeper motionless. The Hornets would go into half time two goals to the good.
The second half became the Blenkle show. On the 55th minute mark, Blenkle found himself with the ball in the box and mid-strike was brought down for a penalty. Senior Scott Anderson sent the keeper the wrong way, adding his tally to six for the year. Within two minutes of the restart Blenkle made another promising run into the box and again was brought down in the box. It would be Sophomore Kouami D’Almeida who would smash the ball home to make it 4-0 for the Hornets.
Southern Poly and Blenkle were not done just yet. A dazzling dribbling show by Anderson and a cracking strike from all of 25 yards came off the inside of the post, and Blenkle volleyed the ball home from inside the box. There was time at the end for one more goal and again the young freshman from Nigeria would score. Sophomore Chris Szalwinski had the final assist. Maduka raised his total to 13 goals for the year and made it 6-0 to the Hornets on the day.
“It’s a great way to get our first ever opening round win. We battled from the first whistle to the last and we had some great individual performances, most noticeably with Henning Blenkle getting his first start of the season. He has not been heavily involved throughout the season and he really showed his desire to make a big impression on the team”, commented Momeni.