November 16, 2011

Oglethorpe Falls 3-0 in Opening Round of NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament

Oglethorpe's historic 2011 season came to an end on Thursday night in Tyler, Texas as host the University of Texas at Tyler topped the Petrels 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA's.  The Patriots netted two first half goals, the second with only 22 seconds remaining in the half, to establish the margin they needed en route to the win.

The two sides spent the early stages of the contest methodically testing one another out with the ball mostly staying in the midfield section. The game loosened up a bit as the players settled in and Tyler began asserting themselves from the 10 minute mark throughout the rest of the half.

The Patriots broke the ice in the game's 17th minute when Jesus Morteo blasted a rebound off Oglethorpe keeper Frank Petersen in the back of the net. Tyler played a corner into the box, took a shot and got the rebound for the game's first goal. The Petrels, however, seemed to be jumpstarted by the goal, controlling play throughout much of the remainder of the half.

The period seemed destined to end with the Patriots nursing a 1-0 lead but the face of the game changed dramatically when, with only 22 second left, Tyler's Chris Powell took a deflected pass at the top of the box and cracked it into the lower left-hand corner for the suddenly commanding 2-0 lead.

After being outshot 6-3 in the first half with the Patriots earning 4 corners to none for Oglethorpe, the Petrels turned on the pressure in the second stanza. Oglethorpe won four second half corner kicks to the Patriots 2 and outshot their opponents 11-7. Luck, however, was not on the Petrels side as none of the chances bore any fruit.

With Oglethorpe in desperation mode and pushing everyone forward late in the contest, the Patriots converted a 3-on-1 breakaway to provide the final margin of 3-0.

Despite the postseason loss, Oglethorpe enjoyed the best soccer season in school history in 2011. The team set records for wins, winning percentage and consecutive victories en route to posting a remarkable 17-4 overall record. The Petrels will lose the services of three starters - Mark Lavery, Jeff Arsenault and Aaron Walker - to graduation, but return a squad loaded with the type of talent more than capable of repeating this season's success.

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