November 30, 2010
Gulf Shores, AL
Southern Poly Loses, 1-0, in Double OT in Round of 16
After shocking the country in one of the biggest upsets in the 2010 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Tournament, by beating defending National Champions Lindsey Wilson in the first round, Southern Poly loses a heartbreaker against the Hawks of Holy Names University. Holy Names scored a goal with 26 seconds left in the second overtime period to advance to the Elite 8 of the NAIA National Tournament.
In a game that had a tornado watch, rain coming down sideways and high winds, Southern Poly put on a spectacular performance every where on the field, but inside the 18. With 20 shots and ten on frame, SPSU dominated much of the play. However, Holy Names Goal Keeper, Lars Johansen, came up with big save after big save to help keep the Hawks in it. Johansen ended the match with ten saves, while SPSU GK, Eric Ati, had two.
With 26 seconds left in the second OT, a service from the left flank found a rising Hawks midfielder who headed in the game winner. It was the Hawks third shot on goal of the game and the one that sent Southern Poly packing.
In a season that saw Southern Poly win their second consecutive regular season SSAC title, advance to the SSAC Tournament Championship game, and to be one of only five teams to return to the Round of 16 of the NAIA National Championship, it ended with heartbreak.
“I can’t help but to be disappointed. Our boys played so well today. We did so many things right, except for the biggest thing (finishing). That essentially has been our biggest issue all year. We have only been outplayed once all year, and that was against Lindsey- Wilson. Yet we have five loses and three draws and that is due to our lack of finishing; not effort, talent, or organization. At the end of the day, when you score two goals in four post-season matches, you don’t deserve to be in the Final 8,” said SPSU Head Coach Kom Momeni.
All was not so doom and gloom for the Hornets in 2010, however. They swept Conference play for the second straight year and ended the season ranked #22 in the NAIA Coaches Poll. Their final overall record was 12-5-3 and their conference record was 6-0. They placed four players on the All-Conference First Team. Only one, of their five losses, came to a team that did not make the Round of Sixteen in the NAIA National Championship Tournament. "We had an excellent schedule and that gave us valuable experience for the future," added Momeni. Seven out of their 20 contests were against National Tournament teams.
"We learned a lot about ourselves this year and are very excited about the future. Replacing our seniors will be difficult, but our returns have gained valuable experience. We will be very motivated to get back to the National Tournament next year, and that will be one of our goals," said Momeni.