GEORGETOWN, Texas —Before their last match of the regular season, the Southwestern University Pirates men's soccer seniors handed out yellow roses to loved ones for senior day.
Almost seven minutes into the first overtime, Southwestern's sophomore midfielder Sacco Fernandez almost bookended it with a golden goal when a long throw-in from the right sideline ricocheted off a scrum in front of the net.
Working on the far left side, Fernandez got a clear lane and a running start, sending a powerful header towards the net and tumbling into the post as Austin College goalie Joseph Khalaf got his hands up just in time to knock the shot away.
Khalaf finished the match with eight saves, mitigating a Southwestern attack that produced 14 shots, doubling the Kangaroos' seven. Southwestern goalie Alan Carr stopped all three of the shots he faced, ending the match in a scoreless double overtime draw.
"Today's goal was simple: ensure we limited the other team's opportunities to long range service and shots to give us a chance to secure the three seed in the conference tournament next weekend," Pirates head coach Dustin Norman said. "The point we earned today solidified our spot as the three seed. Oddly enough, this resilient Austin College team is exactly who we will see [in the first round] Friday."
Southwestern executed its game plan defensively, moving across the muddy pitch swiftly to get to 50-50 balls and disrupt Austin College's attack.
"The entire team worked tirelessly to cover ground on a hot day and ensure the seniors took something away," Norman said. "Wil Mekelburg, Garrison Van Houten, Brendan Dauth, Francisco Ramirez, and Marcello Gonzalez suffocated Austin College when in our defensive third and Alan did what he has done consistently for nearly a month now, making the routine saves look easy."
Carr coordinated the defense from inside the box, shouting orders and also had a highlight save, tracking down a wayward cross that nearly found the back corner to preserve his eighth shutout of the season.
After giving up three shots in the first half, including two on goal, the Pirates limited the Kangaroos to just one each in the second half and first overtime, before giving up two in the closing minutes of the second overtime, blocking Juan Ramirez's shot and clearing his corner kick in the match's closing seconds.
With the win, the Pirates finish the regular season 10-5-2, including 8-4-2 in conference, claiming the third seed in the upcoming Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, which will be hosted by Southwestern University. They will play Austin College in the second match on Friday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m.