It was a wild and fast-paced affair in Salem, Oregon on Saturday night as Biola Men's Soccer capped off an incredible day of athletics with a scintillating 3-1 victory over Corban in the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round.
The game started at a frenetic pace as Corban's direct style of play was causing some trouble when the ball moved quickly over the slick surface.
As the Eagles looked to string passes together and impose their style on the game it took a little time to adjust. Once Biola found its feet and started moving the ball around there were no surprises though.
Joey O'Keefe got the party started by scoring his first goal of the evening in the 35th minute from a corner kick. Kousei Mattox whipped in the corner to find O'Keefe's near-post run and the captain made no mistake with a bullet of a header! It was Stephen Tanquary who did brilliantly to win the corner just minutes after he entered the game.
Leo Contreras and John Hanscom were dynamic and creative going forward and kept the Warriors' heels up until the half, but the score remained 1-0. That clean first half was in part due to a great save from JT Addington down low with just a minute on the clock.
Biola came out for the second period with the same level of energy they ended the first with, and immediately the team doubled its lead. This time the tally came from senior-captain Stephen Tanquary in the 48th minute.
It was Tanquary's fourth goal of the season and first since he notched the game-winner in a 1-0 affair at Vanguard. O'Keefe and Mattox had the double-assist on the play.
As the night got more frigid and the game went on longer things got a bit chippy on the field. Both teams were issued three yellow cards each, but the game changed dramatically in the 69th minute when the referee sent off a Warrior with a straight red for an incident away from the ball.
Corban responded to losing a man positively though, scoring a goal on a good through-ball, but with the game hanging in the balance, O'Keefe rounded off an impressive all-around game with his second goal of the night. Cristhian Aparicio was the assist man on the insurance goal.
The last 15 minutes were all Biola, as the Eagles had control of the game and saw off any Warrior attacks through the stout defensive work of Mattox, Riley Waldeck, Clayton Mohler, Sammy McKay and Parker Setran.
Jarret Pugh was his typically tireless self in midfield, while Marshall Deogracia provided a dynamic defensive spark by winning a number of key tackles in the middle of the park. Keaton Kerr, Daniel Martinez and Thomas Samayoa also checked in for explosive and energetic stints.
The win was made even sweeter by the large contingent of Eagle fans who traveled to Oregon to the support the team on the brisk, windy night.
The victory propels Biola to the 2015 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship in Delray Beach, Florida. The final leg of this tournament takes place from Nov. 30 – Dec. 5.