LA MIRADA, Calif. --- Freshman Joey O'Keefe blasted home the match winner on a scramble in the box with under four minutes remaining to give Biola a stunning 2-1 upset win over No. 4 Concordia University in a the NAIA Match of the Week on Saturday night on Al Barbour Field.
Biola improves to 9-6-1 on the season, remaining a perfect 6-0-0 at home this season and moving to 5-3-0 in GSAC play. The loss was Concordia's first against an NAIA team this season and snaps a 14-match unbeaten streak. Concordia drops to to 13-2-1 and suffers its first conference loss to fall to 7-1-0.
O'Keefe was the hero of the night, three weeks after earning a red card during the match against Concordia in Irvine and forcing Biola to play down a man for the final 25 minutes of the match. However, he more than redeemed himself with solid play throughout the match and the match-winner with four minutes to play. O'Keefe found the loose ball in the box after Biola sustained an attack late in the match. He gathered the ball just in front of the goal mouth and quickly blasted it into the back of the net to give Biola a huge victory.
The goal capped an entertaining final 25 minutes of the match which included Concordia tying the match on a great play by leading scorer Christian Ramirez, who netted his GSAC-leading 18th goal of the season. Ramirez received a great through ball from William Prado and quickly turned and shot it past the Biola net minder to tie the match in the 74th minute.
After the goal, Biola ramped up the offense, taking nine shots over the next 12 minutes of play. Despite putting shot after shot on frame, Biola was finally able to break through on O'Keefe's second goal of the season.
Biola held a one-goal lead at the half, scoring the all-important first goal of the game in the 33rd minute. After an even first 30 minutes of play, Biola broke through with help from O'Keefe. The freshman helped open the scoring with a great pass through the Concordia back line right onto the feet of fellow freshman Aaren Lewis, who broke away and beat Trejo with a quick shot.
"I couldn't be more proud of the outcome," said Biola Head Coach Bryan Kuderman. "We have a very good game plan against Concordia, but it's always a question of how well we can execute it and if we can keep it up over 90 minutes. It's very challenging but we were able to do it tonight."
Biola peppered the Concordia goal with 23 total shots including 15 in the second half alone. However, Concordia net minder Julio Trejo made some saves much more suited for goalkeepers in Europe than his peers in the NAIA. Trejo would finish with nine saves including five in the second half.
"I think we missed five or six very good scoring changes tonight and I think the Concordia goalkeeper did an outstanding job keeping them in the match as long as he did," said Kuderman.
Biola had a number of great scoring chances throughout the second half as it looked for the go-ahead goal. In the 79th minute, Biola had two great chances, the first on a cross from the near side which was punched away with the follow-up blast by O'Keefe saved with a one-handed diving stop.
Freshman Joshua Crichton was equally strong in goal for Biola, making three saves to keep the home team in the match.
"It was a great win for the team," said senior captain Julio Cuevas. "To match up with the No. 4 team in the NAIA and really take it to them kind of shows that we can be as dominant as them. It's going to help us finish the season strong and give us momentum when we face them again in the playoffs. We now that for us to get to the national tournament again, we are going to have to beat them one more time."
Biola and Concordia play the same opponents in their final two matches of the regular-season. Biola begins its final week on Wednesday, traveling to Phoenix to face Arizona Christian at 7:00 pm while Concordia hosts The Master's College at 3:00 p.m. They flip opponents on Saturday with Concordia hosting Arizona Christian at Noon and Biola hosting The Master's at 7:00 p.m.