The McMurry University men's soccer team erased a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat Central Christian College, 3-2, in the NCCAA Central Region final on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead when Kasy Sidor found Grant Rardon, who beat goalie Neil O'Sullivan just eight minutes into the contest. Central Christian would pad its lead with a goal in the 30th minute of play when Gunnar Kelly found the net off a pass from Martin Marfo, to make the score 2-0.
The teams would go into the half with McMurry trailing by the same score.
Refusing to give up, McMurry (10-11) wasted little time cutting into the Tiger lead. Colin Lund needed just three minutes to score his third goal in two games, as he beat the keeper in the 48th minute to slim the margin to 2-1.
It took until the 64th minute for the War Hawks to notch the equalizer, but that is exactly what they did, when Mike Moon registered his first score of the post-season to tie the game at 2-2.
With time winding down in the contest, overtime looked to be inevitable. However, in the 87th minute of the second half, the War Hawks completed the comeback as Jacob Howdeshell scored a goal off a great pass from Lund to give McMurry the 3-2 lead, and eventually, the victory.
“Our guys just refused to give up tonight,” said McM head coach Paul Tate. “Even when we were down 2-0 our guys just continued to fight. They wanted this win so bad and everyone played hard to make it happen.”
Offensively, Lund led the way for McMurry, finishing the day with three points, while Moon and Howdeshell each finished with two points.
After allowing two goals in the first half, O'Sullivan made seven saves in the second half to keep the Tigers at bay, and finished the day with 11 stops.
With the victory, the War Hawks were crowned the NCCAA Central Region champions and earned the right to compete in the NCCAA National Championship tournament to be held on Thursday-Saturday, November 29-December 1, at the Austin-Tindall Soccer Complex in Kissimmee, Florida.
Information provided by McMurry Athletics Dept.