Sioux Falls, South Dakota – The SFU Clan men’s soccer team have successfully finished their 2011 season undefeated after securing a 2-1 victory this afternoon over Fort Hays State University. The win caps off a season in which the Clan not only went undefeated, but also won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title and was ranked first among NCAA division II teams for most of the season.
“I am incredibly proud of this group. They have found a way to win all year, and today was no different,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “We should have finished this match off today in the first half, but our inability to finish our chances almost got us in trouble.”
A familiar face opened the scoring for the Clan when Coquitlam, BC’s Carlo Basso netted the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute while Chris Bargholz had the assist.
Basso scored on a header off a cross pass from Bargholz.
Basso finished the season with 16 goals, good enough not only for the team lead but also the most in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
In the second half, Fort Hays started to come at the Clan.
As the clock hit 63 minutes of play, Fort Hays tied the game when Patrick Brennan beat SFU goalkeeper Sheldon Steenhuis with a shot off a pass from Ricardo Yeverino.
The final 30 minutes of the game were heated as six yellow cards and two red cards were handed out.
SFU goalkeeper Steenhuis received the red card for the Clan. Hide Ozawa came on in relief in Steenhuis, and was forced to make a spectacular save immediately to keep the game tied.
Chris Bargholz made a fantastic run towards the goalkeeper late in the 86th minute but he was pulled down in the box and the Clan were awarded a penalty kick to be taken by Josh Bennett.
With the undefeated season on the line, Bennett made no mistake, calmly slotting the ball home past Fort Hays goalkeeper Ryan Pakieser for the game winning goal.
“We asked the guys to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this year, be ranked in the Top 25 in the NCAA, to sweep all three games on our trip to Hawaii, and to win the USF Provisional Teams Classic. They achieved all of these things. To go undefeated is the cherry on top. It has been a remarkable year and I am incredibly proud of all of our players.”
“Tonight was a fitting way for our four seniors (Bennett, Max Baessato, Carson Gill, and Anthony DiNicolo) to finish their amazing college careers. I am sure that they all have some amazing memories of their time with SFU soccer.”