The No. 5 Concordia Eagles took to Eagles Field on Saturday, November 10, in search of their first GSAC Tournament Championship in program history, after falling to Biola in the same game a year ago. The Eagles took care of business, shutting out the San Christian Hawks 3-0, to claim the title in front of a festive soccer crowd.
The championship gives Concordia the clean sweep, as they are 2012 GSAC Regular-Season and Tournament Champions. On Saturday it was scoreless until 55:31 when Christian Ramirez was on the receiving end of a through ball from Adrian Padilla to Joel Palomares. Palomares crossed the ball in from the right side, and Ramirez slammed it home with his left foot to break the tie.
Eight minutes later Max McCrink headed in Armando Padilla's corner kick for his first goal of the year, to make it 2-0 Concordia. At 82:12 it was Ramirez again as Neil Anaya split the defense with a through ball up the field. The San Diego Christian goal keeper committed and Ramirez lofted home his GSAC-leading 22nd goal of the year, and second of the game, over the keeper's head. It was Ramirez's sixth multiple-goal game of the year.
"We came out of halftime fired up from coaches' talk and put them away," Max McCrink said. "We take everything one step at time. We want to make the best run we can."
Ramirez had a great chance at 12:16 to get Concordia rolling early, but he missed an open right side wide. The Hawks almost took the early lead at 29:27 when Eduardo Medina banged one off the post that looked like it was home. That shot would mark San Diego Christian's best chance.
Trejo had three saves and improved to 16-1-1 on the year. The reigning GSAC Defensive Player of the Week posted his seventh individual shutout, to go with three team shutouts, in 17 starts. San Diego Christian goalkeeper Alex Cozzi was busy with six saves, but fell to 5-2.
Concordia outshot San Diego Christian 15-8 and 9-3 in shots on goal, but five of those shots on goal for Concordia came after the second goal, when San Diego Christian was forced to expose themselves. The game for the most part was played very evenly, and only late did the Hawks' defense suffer when trying to find goals.
Concordia's defense was led by defenders Max McCrink, Aaron Kasser, Jose Tamayo, Neil Anaya, and Armando Padilla, who limited San Diego Christian's chances.
"I thought San Diego Christian played a really good game today," Concordia head coach Chris Gould said. "We wanted to have the champions' mentality and understand what it takes to push through. They showed that, and I am so proud of our guys for playing as a team and for each other."
With the win Concordia improved to 17-2-1 and earned the GSAC's automatic bid to the 2012 NAIA Tournament. San Diego Christian's season most likely ends at 12-5-1. The Eagles will most likely host an NAIA Opening Round game at Eagles Field next Saturday, November 17. The pairings will be announced on Monday.