MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Unfortunately, the historic postseason run for the ONU men’s soccer team was ended Tuesday with a loss in a shootout (4-3) to No. 15 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). Head coach David Blahnik had his Tigers ready to make waves in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time, but against a tough defensive squad is was difficult to score. In second round play the Tigers took the Pioneers the distance and into a shootout, but failed to match MidAmerica’s goal count, failing to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the Tiger’s (14-4-5) first appearance in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament, Olivet played well defensively not giving up a goal and playing tough against a team ranked in the top 25 poll all year. Goalkeeper Zach Chambers (Flanders, N.J.) took on a six of shots from the Pioneers (12-1-9) in the first half, saving three. The second half wasn’t any easier for the freshman keeper as he saw an even hungrier MidAmerica team make their way at the Tiger’s goal. However, the defense with Chambers defended their goal flawlessly keeping six shots from finding the net.
After the end of regulation the Tigers took their turn at putting heavy pressure on MidAmerica’s goalkeeper, Chris Ericksson. In the first overtime ONU put up three shots and had two corner kicks in a matter of three minutes, two by Todd Bevan (Schererville, Ind.). In the second overtime MidAmerica tried their best to score within the final 10 minutes with three final shots but failed to convert.
After a total of 110 minutes, a combined 31 shots, 13 saves, 13 fouls, and no goals the second round contest went to a shootout. Each team was given five shots at goal and the team with the most scored advanced. After round one, both teams failed to score, round two had both teams scoring. John Nardozzi (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) converted and the third round had Robby Gunderson (Downers Grove, Ill.) scoring to match MidAmerica. The shootout remained tied after the fourth round when Tyler Gill (Plainfield, Ill.) scored to match Matias Fernandez. However, in the fifth and final round Alvaro Beltran scored and the Tigers failed to find the net giving the Pioneers the match.
Freshman goalkeeper Zach Chambers (Flanders, N.J.) played the entire 110 minutes, recording his fifth shutout and finished with 11 saves in total. ONU was out shot by MNU 22-9, and the Pioneer had nine more on goal.
ONU finished the season unbeaten in their final 12 games, tying three times. They also played a total of 16 overtime periods this season, seven of which were in postseason play. The 2012 Tigers finished further in the postseason than any other team in program history.