Edward Williams' (pictured) goal, assisted by Alex Michael, with 2:38 remaining in the second overtime of Sunday's SCAC match-up gave Southwestern a 9-8 win over the Warriors of Hendrix College. The win advances the Pirates to the first-ever Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
The final game of the regular season meant everything to the two teams, including a bid in the SCAC's first ever conference tournament next weekend. Emotions and energy were high and the excitement was palpible as the game got underway.
Southwestern was hot out of the gate, scoring early and taking a commanding lead 5-1 lead just before the end of the first quarter. Hendrix snuck one past goalie Chris O'Quain just before the end of the period to cut the Pirates' lead to three, 5-2.
Fortunes reversed in the middle quarters as it was Hendrix who took offensive control of the game. With two goals in the second quarter and just one from SU, Hendrix had cut the lead down to two, 6-4, heading into the break.
Hendrix picked up crucial groundballs in the third quarter and mounted a comeback, posting two goals to pull the count even 6-6 heading into the crucial fourth quarter.
With feelings of last year's overtime contest looming in the air, the Pirates got back down to work. Tyler Downing worked his way through the Warrior defense to score the go-ahead with just over 11 minutes on the clock.
Hendrix scored the equalizer on a man-up goal three and a half minutes later, just seconds into the penalty. Nelson added another goal a minute later to put the Warriors up by one but Downing had the response for the Pirates with an unassisted goal, tying the game with just over three and a half minutes play.
Reminiscent of last year's match-up the game headed into overtime after strong defensive stands by both teams.
Hendrix won the opening faceoff of overtime and had the first look to snag the win. SU's defense once again buckled down and made two great stands to keep the Warriors from even getting a decent look at the goal.
After a great transition by Thomas Mock the Pirates took a timeout to set up their attempt at the win. Hendrix's defense knocked the ball away before Southwestern could get a good look at the goal, sending the game into a second overtime.
Nelson came across the middle and got a good look at the cage to start the second overtim, but O'Quain was having none of it as he made a game-saving save, sending the Pirates back on the attack.
After the timeout the Pirates set up the play. Gus Brunger swung the ball over to Michael who juked his way through the defense from the top of the key and towards the right side and found Williams streaking through the middle in front of the goal. Williams received the perfect pass and drilled the back of the net for the game winner.
The win puts the Pirates in fourth place in the conference and sends them to the first SCAC Conference Tournament. Southwestern will likely face SCAC powerhouse and host-institution Colorado College in the opening round on Friday. Game times are yet to be determined.