Wayland Bapist Men's Soccer Advances in NAIA Post Season

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Cristhian Ospina said some may have thought Wayland Baptist didn’t belong in Florida at the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championships.

The Pioneers proved them dead wrong Monday morning.

Federico Ucar scored twice and Ricardo Ramos got the game-winner as No. 23 Wayland advanced to the “elite eight” with a 3-2 second-round win over Cardinal Stritch, Wis.

“It’s been rough on the guys in the sense most teams think we shouldn’t be here, but they proved we do have the right to be here,” Ospina said. “I’m just really happy for them. They work really hard and play for each other. Now they get to take it to the next level and they’re in the top eight teams in the nation.”

The Pioneers (16-5-1) advance to play 12th-seeded Columbia, Mo. (18-2-2) in the quarterfinals at 10 a.m. (CST) Wednesday. After four second-round matches Monday, four more will be contested Tuesday to determine the quarterfinalists.

If Wayland wins Wednesday, its semifinal will be at 3 p.m. (CST) Friday. The championship match is at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The national championships is being played at the Seacrest Soccer Complex. The NAIA Network is broadcasting all matches live for $9.95 for a single-day pass or $29.95 for the entire tournament. Links are available at www.wbuathletics.com.

Against Cardinal Stritch (16-4-2), ranked the equivalent of 29th and coming off a victory over third-ranked Rio Grande, Ohio, in the opening round, it took the Pioneers just 3 minutes, 50 seconds to score the first match of the final site action.

It came after a corner kick by James Quinn, and Ucar headed it home for a quick 1-0 lead.

Proving the goal wasn't a fluke, Ucar scored again some 11 minutes later on another header to the far post. Ross Brown earned the assist on the sixth goal of the season for the freshman from Montevideo, Uruguay.

“That gave us an advantage, but then they scored and that put them back in the game,” Ospina said.

The Wolves quickly showed they weren't going down easily as Teren Schuster, assisted by Jack Hart and escaping an offside call, scored on a through ball with a shot to the far post. With 19:39 gone in the match, Wayland led, 2-1.

 

The teams then settled in and defenses took over for the next 34 minutes. That’s when Ramos, assisted by Lochlan Reus, beat Cardinal Stritch defenders in the 54th minute. The junior’s 12th goal of the season – half of those coming in the last six matches – tied James Westfield for team-high honors.

“We should have kept it that way, but we made a mental mistake and they scored. Once again we made things hard on ourselves,” Ospina said.

Cardinal Stritch again made it a one-goal match when Hart picked up another assist on a close-range goal by Luke McVeigh 77:27 into the match.

An agonizing 12 minutes, 33 seconds still remained, but Wayland’s defense did a stellar job. Cooper Gaypia got off a shot on-goal for Wayland with just under three minutes remaining, and the only shot the Wolves managed in the last 12½ minutes missed wide with 25 seconds left.

“I’m really proud of our defense. The guys in the middle worked really hard,” Ospina said. “They did a good job of keeping the ball ahead of them.”

The Pioneers outshot the Wolves, 21-7, with the shots on-goal count 9-4. Reus got off a match-high four shots while Ucar, Brown, Ramos and Luis Almeida fired three apiece.

“Ricardo Ramos up front had a good game until he had to come out because he was cramping,” said Ospina, adding that the warm weather had an impact. “We have to be really smart from now on. Besides that we should be fine.”

Ziggy Camejo was credited with two assists.

The match pitted two of the three unranked teams that qualified in the sweet 16. The win was the ninth in a row for Wayland and extended its program record, despite three forfeited early-season wins, to 16 victories on the season.

 

Courtesy: Wayland Baptist Athletics


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