This last weekend, the Bears Soccer team went into a competitive NCCAA Southwest Region Tournament in Joplin, MO as the #1 seed. The four team tournament featured Hillsdale Free Will Baptist (Moore, OK), Dallas Christian College (Dallas, TX) and the host school Ozark Christian College.
The Bears first game of the tournament was a rematch with the Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College Saints. Previously Barclay split with Hillsdale, with both teams winning at home. Once again BC maintained possession of the ball for most of the game, but even playing two men down because of two first half red cards, the Saints battled to the very end. The Bears first strike was in the first half when Sophomore Kingsley Assibey placed a ball just outside the Saint’s back-up keeper’s reach. Later in the half Freshman Eli Dahir chipped a ball over the defense to the feet of a cutting Sophomore Sam Thompson who calmly placed it into the net for Barclay’s second goal. Even though, the Saints managed to score off of a combination play, Assibey wasn’t finished yet. He scored one of his best goals of the year when he received a ball in mid-air with his back to the goal, gave it a touch, pivoted, and hammered a shot into the net for his second goal of the game giving Barclay a 3-1 victory.
The regional championship game between Dallas Christian College and Barclay would determine who would move on to the national tournament. Barclay came out looking strong, maintaining control of the ball and having most of the shot opportunities on goal, but it was Dallas who scored first right in the middle of the first half as a quick footed DCC player slashed his way to the goal and found the back of the net. Tailing 1-0 at the half, Barclay answered by scoring early in the second half off of a shot from Assibey, who finished the season with 24 goals in just 18 games. His shot, ripped from 30 yards out, ricocheted off the post and into the back of the net. Dallas, however, capitalized on another opportunity to go up 2-1. Minutes later the Midwest Christian College Conference MVP, Freshman midfielder, Melvin Lara, beat a couple of Crusader defenders, and passed to an open Dahir for an easy goal. Moments later, with the score tied, the Crusaders once again slipped through the Bears defense and managed to regain the lead and then in the closing minutes of the game, added on one more goal.
Dallas Christian’s 4-2 win propels them to the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida where they will take on two time defending champion and top ranked Moody Bible College (Chicago, IL) in the first round.
Following the game Coach Lee stated, ” It was a great disappointment to come so close to qualifying for the national tournament, and to see the better team lose.” Coach Lee added that he was pleased with the direction the program is heading and hopes to bring in a solid recruiting class next year to keep pursing a championship team.
For their efforts during the Southwest region play, four BC Bears players wound up on the All-Region Team. Senior goalkeeper Austin Ogle was at the top of the list, Assibey, Lara, and Freshman defender Pedro Chavez all accompanied him on the team.
Coach Lee ended his assessment of the season by saying, “I praise God that we had few injuries this year, and those with injuries are healing; I praise God for the missions experience over fall break; I praise God for the seniors and for all of the players; I praise God for the assistant coaches and staff; and I am thankful for all of the supporters of Barclay College Bears!”